SUNY selects energy entrepreneur as new chancellor

Apr 25, 2017

An entrepreneur, academic and former undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Energy has been appointed the next leader of New York state's public university system. 

The State University of New York's board of trustees unanimously approved Kristina Johnson's appointment as SUNY chancellor on Monday. She will replace Nancy Zimpher, who steps down in June after eight years in charge of one of the nation's largest public university systems.  

Credit Cube Hydro Partners LLC

"Kristina Johnson has enjoyed an incredible career as a thinker, an educator, an entrepreneur, and an advocate,” said Marc Cohen, Student Assembly president and SUNY trustee. “Throughout her interview process she made it clear that not only was she interested in listening to stakeholders, but she already knew who they were. She demonstrated time and again an interest in engaging full and true shared governance, including the voices of the most important people in the entire system.”

Johnson, founder of hydroelectric developer Cube Hydro Partners LLC, has been provost at Johns Hopkins University and dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. She will begin her $560,000-a-year position at SUNY on Sept. 5 as New York begins phasing in a plan to make tuition free for full-time New York students.  

"I’m very excited and grateful to be here and the opportunity to serve a system and a state whose Governor has put higher education front and center in his agenda,” said Johnson upon approval.

In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo thanked Zimpher for her service and praised the choice of Johnson.

"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," said Cuomo. "I applaud the Board of Trustees for this outstanding selection. New York is leading the way in public higher education and Dr. Johnson will help maintain the upward trajectory of one of the nation’s largest systems of higher education."

SUNY represents nearly 600,000 full- and part-time students at 64 campuses across New York.