Ohio State University names new president

Ohio State University named Kristina M. Johnson as its new president, replacing Michael V. Drake who is retiring after six years of leading Ohio’s flagship university.

“Kristina has had a remarkable career, and she has demonstrated accomplished leadership in academic, corporate and government settings,” said OSU trustee Lou Von Thaer, who headed the search committee. “The Ohio State presidency is her dream job, a top national university with the scale to impact students, the state and national economies.”

Johnson starts Sept. 1.

She joins Ohio State during challenging times. The university sent students home in March during the COVID-19 emergency and is trying to determine how and when they’ll return to classrooms.

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Also, the university just agreed to pay $40.9 million to settle 12 of 23 lawsuits it is facing related to sexually predatory behavior from Dr. Richard Strauss. During his two decades on staff, Strauss abused hundreds of male students under the guise of medical exams and treatment, reports found.

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Johnson holds a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University where she was a varsity field hockey athlete.

For the past three years, she served as chancellor of the State University of New York system, which has 64 public colleges, three hospital systems and 1.3 million students. Previously she founded multiple science and technology companies, served as under secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy and held academic leadership posts at Johns Hopkins University, Duke University and University of Colorado at Boulder.

She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Inventors, and holds more than 100 U.S. and international patents, OSU said. She holds the lifetime achievement award from the Society of Women Engineers.

Johnson's grandfather graduated at Ohio State in 1896 and played right guard for the Buckeyes, OSU said in a news release.

Johnson is married to Veronica Meinhard, a Venezuela native and four-time All-American swimmer.

Johnson’s pay and employment terms were not included in the press release.

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