The Ohio State University announces selection of new president


Ohio State says the "highly accomplished academic, entrepreneur to begin tenure September 1"

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio State University has chosen the chancellor of the State University of New York system, Kristina M. Johnson, PhD, as the school’s new president, the university announced Wednesday.

Sources confirmed the news to NBC4’s Colleen Marshall Tuesday.

“We are pleased beyond measure to welcome Dr. Johnson to Ohio State,” said Board of Trustees chair Gary R. Heminger in a news release. “Her range of knowledge, service and accomplishments across sectors and throughout her career is nothing short of remarkable.

OSU President Michael Drake announced his retirement last November. 

Johnson is an engineer, an inventor, and during the Obama administration, was the undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. She earned her doctorate at Stanford and is said to be an advocate for women’s leadership and STEM education.

She is right now helping lead the coronavirus response in New York.

Johnson is leaving the SUNY position after accepting the job three years ago at a salary of $560,000 a year. According to a copy of Johnson’s offer letter from Ohio State, she will make a base salary of $900,000, with a performance bonus target of 25% of her base salary.

The university says Johnson has close family ties to Ohio State and Ohio. Her grandfather graduated from Ohio State in 1896, played right guard on one of the early football teams and was a member of the Tesla Club. Family lore has it that Johnson’s grandfather met her grandmother on the Columbus campus.

“Ohio State has always been a special place to me – well beyond its standing as one of the most respected teaching, research and patient-care institutions in the world,” Johnson said. “I am humbled to be selected to lead this great land-grant university, and I look forward to meeting with students, faculty and staff to begin our work together.”

Johnson is the 16th president of the university since its founding in 1870.

Johnson is married to Veronica Meinhard, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, and a four-time All-American swimmer at her alma mater, the University of Florida. Meinhard has 26 years of experience in higher education philanthropy and administration.

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