Oklahoma State System of Higher Education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson received the State Higher Education Executive Officers’ (SHEEO) Exceptional Leader Award at the association’s annual meeting on July 16.

The Exceptional Leader Award is presented to a current state higher education executive officer from a member agency who has shown exceptional leadership, a commitment to higher education, a contribution to the greater good, and service to the SHEEO association. The award recipient is selected by peer system-heads from across the nation, and it is the organization’s highest individual honor.

“We congratulate Chancellor Glen Johnson for receiving SHEEO’s Exceptional Leader Award. Glen has provided more than 36 years of public service to the State of Oklahoma, including over 23 years of state and national service in higher education leadership roles,” said State Regent Jay Helm. “As chief executive officer for the Oklahoma state system of higher education, he has served in leadership roles for SHEEO, the Southern Regional Education Board, the American Association for State Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. A tireless and effective advocate for Oklahoma students and the public colleges and universities that serve them, his numerous contributions to the state of Oklahoma and the advancement of our higher education system are invaluable.”

Johnson is serving his second year as chair of the SHEEO Executive Committee, which is responsible for shaping SHEEO’s federal priorities and strategies and for leading its communications with Congress, the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies. Prior to serving as chair-elect in 2017-18, he served as treasurer and was previously elected to the Executive Committee in 2014 and 2015. He also served consecutive two-year terms on the Executive Committee in 2008 and 2010.

“I am humbled to receive this recognition from my SHEEO colleagues,” said Johnson. “I am honored to represent the Oklahoma state system of higher education in this important work at the national level, and to collaborate with other higher education leaders from across the country to ensure our higher education system equips graduates with the skills and knowledge required for a globally competitive workforce.”

SHEEO, the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing boards and coordinating boards for postsecondary education, works to assist its members and states in developing and sustaining excellent systems of higher education.

Johnson was named chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education in January 2007 following a national search. Before assuming the role of chancellor, he served as the 16th president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant for 10 years. He was also director of public policy and adjunct professor of law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Prior to his work at OU, he served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1982 to 1996 and was speaker of the House from 1990 to 1996. At the time of his election as speaker, he was the youngest sitting speaker in the United States. Johnson is an honors graduate of OU with an undergraduate degree in political science and a juris doctorate from the OU College of Law, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2016.