Dr. Kristina M. Johnson joined The State University of New York as its 13th Chancellor in September 2017. With 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state, SUNY is the nation’s largest comprehensive system of public higher education. It serves more than 1.3 million students annually, employs more than 90,000 faculty and staff, and connects more than three million alumni around the world.
Immediately prior to joining SUNY, Dr. Johnson was co-founder and CEO of Cube Hydro Partners, LLC, a clean-energy infrastructure company focused on building and operating hydropower plants in North America. Dr. Johnson grew the company from one plant to 19 plants on 10 rivers in five eastern states—enough to power 150,000 homes with clean energy. Prior to Cube Hydro, Dr. Johnson served as Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. As Under Secretary, she was responsible for unifying and managing a broad $10.5 billion energy and environment portfolio, including an additional $37 billion in energy and environment investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009
As Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Johns Hopkins University from 2007 to 2009, Dr. Johnson was second-in-charge of the university with direct oversight of the academic operations and budget of nine schools that included leading interdisciplinary programs, academic centers, and institutes. During her term, she led a university-wide strategic planning process, “Framework for the Future,” and bolstered leadership in research, new initiatives, and graduate programs. This planning process also included creating the Mosaic Initiative to recruit outstanding under-represented faculty, launching the Discovery Grant Program for faculty-led initiatives, and successfully managing the university’s ten-year accreditation review.
As Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University from 1999 to 2007, Dr. Johnson created intensive student/faculty research partnerships and led a strategic planning process as part of Duke’s “Building on Excellence” university plan, which established four new cross-disciplinary research programs while also increasing undergraduate enrollment by 20 percent, doubling the number of graduate students, tripling research expenditures, and tripling the university’s physical infrastructure through the design and construction of the world-class Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine, and Applied Sciences.
Additionally, under her leadership at Duke, the Pratt School of Engineering endowment increased tenfold through the Campaign for Duke University, and the Blue Devil (Venture) Fund was established to support the Pratt School of Engineering. Dr. Johnson worked closely with Pratt School of Engineering faculty and department chairs to increase the percentage of women faculty from 6 to 19 percent, hiring 55 faculty during her term, including 19 early-career award winners.
Named an National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator in 1985 and a Fulbright Faculty Scholar in 1991, Dr. Johnson’s academic awards include the Dennis Gabor Prize for creativity and innovation in modern optics (1993) and the John Fritz Medal (2008), which is widely considered the highest award in engineering, as previous recipients include Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Orville Wright.
Dr. Johnson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. She was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame (2003) and the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2015). She received the Society of Women Engineers Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), the Woman of Vision Award for Leadership by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (2010), and “40 years of Title IX – 40 Women Who Have Made an Impact” by ESPNW (2012).
Dr. Johnson holds 118 U.S. and international patents, has published 149 referenced papers and proceedings, and has received honorary degrees from University of Alabama at Huntsville; Tufts University; McGill University; Trinity College, Dublin; and National University of Ireland, Galway. She is also a fellow of the Optical Society of America, International Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE), the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Recognized for her work in technology transfer and entrepreneurship by the states of Colorado and North Carolina, Dr. Johnson received the 2010 Milton Steward Award from the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) and co-founded ColorLink, Inc., which was sold to RealD, and is responsible for 3D effects in movies such as Avatar, Gravity, and hundreds of other films.
Dr. Johnson received her B.S. with distinction, M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. After a NATO post-doctoral fellowship at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, she joined the University of Colorado-Boulder’s faculty in 1985 as an Assistant Professor and, later, Full Professor. In 1987, Dr. Johnson co-founded the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center (NSF/ERC) for Optoelectronics Computing Systems Center at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University, and went on to serve as its director from 1994 to 1998.
She serves on the boards of directors of Cisco Systems, Inc. and AES Corporation.
Dr. Johnson is married to Ms. Veronica Meinhard, the senior executive director of principal gifts and senior associate athletic director at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). Previously, Ms. Meinhard worked for 21 years at the University of Florida in various capacities in university development and alumni affairs.