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Johnson to become SUNY’s new chancellor this September

kristina johnson new chancellorA former official with the U.S. Department of Energy in the Obama administration is set to become the 13th chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) this fall.

Kristina Johnson will begin her work as SUNY chancellor on Sept. 5, replacing Nancy Zimpher, who announced she would retire in June following her eight-year term as chancellor.

Johnson will earn an annual state salary of $560,000, SUNY said in a news release posted April 24 on the system’s website.


The SUNY board of trustees appointed Johnson during its meeting on April 24. It will also appoint interim leadership for the period between June and September at its June 21 meeting.

About Johnson
Johnson is currently serving as founder and CEO of Bethesda, Maryland–based Cube Hydro Partners, LLC, which develops hydroelectric generation facilities that provide clean energy to communities and businesses throughout the country.

Besides her work with Cube Hydro, she had previously served as undersecretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy during the Obama administration.
In addition, Johnson also served as provost at Johns Hopkins University and as senior VP for academic affairs, as well as dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

She had also spent time as a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Johnson is an inventor and entrepreneur who holds 118 U.S. and international patents, SUNY said.

She became a member of the National Academy of Inventors and the National Academy of Engineering in 2016.

In 2015, Johnson, together with Gary Sharp, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the development of polarization-control technologies that enabled “high quality” three-dimensional (3D) movies and TV.

“The State University of New York is a complex, captivating system like no other in higher education, and the opportunity to serve as its chancellor is the highest honor of my career,” Johnson said in the SUNY news release.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Johnson an “exceptional talent” who brings an “extensive” record in higher education, the sciences, and the private sector to the SUNY community.

“From her groundbreaking research and her experience at some of the nation’s finest academic institutions to her service as undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, she has a proven track record of leadership and innovation. I applaud the Board of Trustees for this outstanding selection,” Cuomo said in a statement his office issued April 24.

“Throughout her distinguished career, Kristina Johnson has not only been a faculty member, administrator, and visionary in higher education but also a dedicated public servant, national energy czar, successful entrepreneur, and an acclaimed inventor,” SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall said in the SUNY release.

“On behalf of the students, faculty and staff of Onondaga Community College, I am very pleased to welcome the appointment of Dr. Kristina Johnson as the next SUNY Chancellor. As a community college serving nearly 12,000 students from Central New York and beyond, OCC looks forward to working with Dr. Johnson to meet the needs of the thousands of students, families, employers and communities across our state who depend upon the strength of New York’s public higher education system. We also extend our profound appreciation to Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, whose leadership over the past eight years has been instrumental to SUNY’s transformational success and has laid a robust foundation for the future,” Casey Crabill, president of Onondaga Community College (OCC), said in a statement issued April 24.


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