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Reaction: Dr. Kristina Johnson Soon To Be 13th SUNY System Chancellor

Zimpher and McCall
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SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher with H. Carl McCall, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York System

On Monday, the State University of New York's Board of Trustees unanimously approved Kristina Johnson's appointment as the new SUNY chancellor.

"After nine months of broadly inclusive and deliberative search process, I am pleased to have the chance today to introduce Dr. Kristina Johnson to our SUNY community."   That's H. Carl McCall, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York System, prior to the official announcement.

Johnson, the founder of a hydroelectric developer and a former undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Energy, has been provost at Johns Hopkins University and dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. 

She will replace Nancy Zimpher, who ends her eight years of service in June. n"I'm proud to be passing SUNY into such capable hands. I'm more confident than ever that our university system is positioned to continue to excel, and I know that Dr. Kristina Johnson is the right leader to keep SUNY at the top of its game," said Zimpher.

Regional educators are welcoming Johnson's appointment.   New York State United Teachers Union President Andy Pallotta:  "We're thrilled that we have someone who is capable and very much with the foresight to come in and bring SUNY to a place of pre-eminence in this state where we can see SUNY as a place where all of our students can get a great education. And we know that she believes in all the things that we do. Having the resources available, the faculty supporting the schools, this is a great opportunity for the SUNY system and for all of our students."

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Fred Kowal, president of United University Professions, describes Johnson as an “innovator” whose talents will be put to good use at SUNY.  "I think this is a very positive step at SUNY to build on what Nancy Zimpher has started. And hopefully, with Dr. Johnson as chancellor, what we'll see is a real strong commitment to the academic mission of SUNY, which I think is a necessary step, given that there's been so much emphasis on the economic rule for SUNY, which is certainly important, but I think Dr. Johnson, with her extensive experience in teaching, research and administration, brings a unique mix that will emphasize, I am hopeful, the academic mission of SUNY."

Kowal says he is pleased by Johnson’s intent to focus on environmental sustainability, a UUP priority.

Johnson begins her $560,000-a-year position at SUNY on or about September 5th, coinciding with the phasing-in of a plan to make tuition free for full-time New York students.

Marc Cohen is president of the SUNY Student Assembly:   "It was important that we found someone who truly understood the importance of student leadership and shared governance, and Dr. Johnson exemplifies that. And in addition to bringing an outstanding track record of leadership and experience to the table, Dr. Johnson is truly the type of leader who seeks in put from all stakeholders and wants to move the university forward in ways that it never has been before."

443,000 full- and part-time students are enrolled at SUNY schools across New York.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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