SUNY Board of Trustees Announce Departure of Kristina Johnson as Chancellor

June 3, 2020

Albany – State University of New York Board of Trustees announced today the departure of Dr. Kristina M. Johnson as chancellor. Dr. Johnson was appointed president of The Ohio State University, where she will start September 1. She will continue her duties as SUNY Chancellor to help prepare campuses for fall semester until an interim leadership structure is appointed by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

"Dr. Johnson has led SUNY with a deep commitment to providing access and opportunity, while ensuring a premier high-quality education for all our students and propelling our university system to new national heights and recognition," said SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Merryl H. Tisch. "We join all New Yorkers in thanking Dr. Johnson for her service and her tireless commitment to issues of equity and excellence, and we wish her the very best on her new opportunity as president of Ohio State University."

"Leading SUNY has been an honor, and throughout my term I have been energized by the students, our esteemed faculty, and the brilliant leaders I have come to know and value," said Chancellor Johnson. "New York State has been welcoming to me and my wife Veronica Meinhard, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to build on SUNY's strength as a diverse and inclusive higher education system."

About Chancellor Johnson

Dr. Johnson became the 13th chancellor of SUNY on April 24, 2017. Before her term officially began on September 5, 2017, Chancellor Johnson coordinated SUNY's response to help the people of Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's ongoing efforts to rescue and rebuild the island. Chancellor Johnson personally volunteered on the island in 2018 along with SUNY and CUNY students.

Since Dr. Johnson became chancellor, two-year community college graduation rates have increased 22 percent, and the number of students requiring remediation was reduced by half. She launched PRODiG (Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth), an initiative designed to increase faculty diversity across SUNY campuses by hiring 1,000 underrepresented minorities and women in STEM by 2030.

During her tenure at SUNY, Chancellor Johnson focused on four central pillars:

Individualized Learning. Chancellor Johnson launched SUNY Achieve, a program at 17 SUNY colleges designed to help more students succeed in completing their associates degree through guided pathways; and SUNY Online, a system-wide platform offering students an affordable and quality education at a time and place that fits in with their complex lives.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Under Chancellor Johnson's leadership, SUNY increased research expenditures by $100 million a year, including investments in national research projects, such as the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium and the Electron-Ion Collider.

Sustainability. Chancellor Johnson developed a roadmap for SUNY's clean energy and sustainability goals, which will accelerate progress toward Governor Cuomo's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. She also launched the NY Higher Education Large Scale Renewable Energy project, which is negotiating the purchase of zero- carbon electricity for 20 campuses and putting SUNY on the path to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2023.

Partnerships. Chancellor Johnson helped establish groundbreaking collaborations with IBM, CREE, Applied Materials, and others, launching $4.6 billion in research and development investment in New York State. She helped raise the first endowment dollars for the SUNY Impact Foundation to support scholarships, fellowships, and professorships. She also created the Chancellor's Graduate Research Fellowships to encourage the innovators of tomorrow to continue their education and research in New York, which featured a $1 million donation with wife Veronica Meinhard to the SUNY Impact Foundation.

More recently, Chancellor Johnson oversaw efforts to ensure the continuation of academic instruction for approximately 400,000 students during the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver clinical care to nearly 1,000 COVID-19 infected patients. She personally led the establishment of #SUNYTogether, a far-reaching and multi-faceted fundraising effort that provides direct aid to students impacted by the pandemic and supports technology needs.


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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