10 Things Kristina M. Johnson, PhD, 16th President of The Ohio State University Can't Live Without


Since becoming a Buckeye last September, President Johnson has driven an ambitious agenda to establish Ohio State as the absolute model land-grant university for the 21st century. Guided by the university’s founding commitment to serve people and communities, this vision includes providing pathways to a debt-free undergraduate degree, doubling research expenditures and increasing the number of faculty over the coming decade, and establishing an ecosystem of innovation, enhancing safety and well-being, and offering individualized educational pathways to meet the needs of students, alumni and the workforce. Before joining Ohio State, President Johnson led the State University System of New York as chancellor, had served as undersecretary of energy in the U.S. Department of Energy, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University and dean of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. President Johnson co-founded ColorLink, which focused on innovations in microdisplays and colorpolarizing technology. The company would eventually become part of RealD, responsible today for the Real3-D system used in more than 300 movies, including the groundbreaking film “Avatar.” She also co-founded and led Cube Hydro Partners, a clean-energy infrastructure company that builds and operates hydropower plants across North America. The three-time graduate of Stanford University holds a BS, MS and PhD in electrical engineering. She was also a varsity athlete in field hockey and founded the club varsity lacrosse team.

Today, alongside her wife, Veronica Meinhard, a higher-education philanthropy and administration expert, President Johnson is helping to chart a new course for Ohio State that fulfills its founding land-grant mission while elevating the university to new heights of academic, research, talent and culture, service and clinical, and operational excellence.

  1. My family. From my investiture to holidays and travel, I am deeply grateful that Veronica and my family are always there to support me and to brighten my life. And discovering new connections with my grandfather, Charles W. Johnson, who graduated from Ohio State in 1896, has been one of the great joys of being President.

  2. The amazing students, faculty and staff at Ohio State. Our university is a powerful force that can do so much good in our communities and the world thanks to the exceptional people that make up our Buckeye family. I am truly fortunate to be surrounded by so much talent, expertise, ambition, and kindness every day.

  3. Engineering and innovation. My life’s passion has been the pursuit of new discoveries in electrical engineering and optoelectronics. I love the chance to solve complex problems and to create something new that improves the world we live in.

  4. Sports. Athletics at Ohio State help create the camaraderie and friendships that make being a Buckeye a lifelong bond. And playing field hockey and lacrosse taught me so much about hard work and collaboration—and it’s just fun!

  5. Walks across campus. Ohio State’s campuses are always full of activity, excitement and beauty. From a peaceful walk past serene Mirror Lake to discovering an unexpected musical performance, you never know what you’ll find when you go for a walk here.

  6. Early morning quiet time. As someone who has always woken up early, I take advantage of my mornings to quietly reflect on the upcoming day and what I want to accomplish.

  7. The Franklin Park Conservatory. The opportunity to visit such an outstanding conservatory has been a wonderful part of living in Columbus.

  8. Buckeye Nation. No matter where I go, I am always amazed by the hospitality, creativity and generosity of Buckeyes I meet throughout Ohio and around the world.

  9. Dragon, our Silky Terrier. Dragon is an unbridled source of love and affection who creates happiness no matter what is going on in my life.

  10. My Buckeye gear. Scarlet and gray have become staples of my wardrobe, especially my scarlet Oxford shoes that I wear to Ohio State sporting events. They’ve brought great luck to the teams!

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