Glen D. Johnson, the Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education for the past 12 years, announced today plans to retire from the leadership position in December 2020. His retirement at the end of next year will close a historic 38 years of public service in Oklahoma.
“I can’t think of a more fulfilling career than being a public servant,” said Johnson. “While there remains more than a year before I leave this position, I honestly can say it is a great privilege and honor to serve as Chancellor and work on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff across this great state.”
Johnson continued, “I never aspired to spend my entire career in public service until after a couple of years in the Legislature, when I recognized how working together we could make a positive difference in the lives of the citizens of this state. I am proud of my public service and grateful to have served with many wonderful men and women over the years who shared a common desire to build a better and stronger Oklahoma for the benefit of all Oklahomans.”
“This was Glen’s decision,” said State Regents’ Chair Jody Parker. “The State Regents are pleased with Glen’s leadership and were not seeking a change. He is a tireless and effective advocate for our system, and his dedication to carrying out his duties and responsibilities across this state and nation is well known and well regarded. In July 2019, he was selected by his system-head colleagues across the nation as the outstanding Chancellor in the country. We respect his decision and the fact he is giving the State Regents ample time to complete our succession planning process so that we can conduct a comprehensive national search next year for a new Chancellor and ensure a smooth leadership transition.”
Parker continued, “We will have an opportunity next year when Glen retires to properly thank him and his wife, Melinda, for their years of exceptional and unselfish service to our system and our state. We could not ask for a better leader than Glen Johnson. He adroitly steered our system through several years of unparalleled budget reductions and still ensured that Oklahoma’s colleges and universities remained accessible and affordable. He always puts what is best for the students, faculty, and staff ahead of everything else. He’s the consummate servant leader.”
“As former Speaker of the House, president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and Chancellor of Oklahoma’s State Regents for Higher Education, Chancellor Johnson has been a devoted leader and passionate advocate for education across our state,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “I look forward to working together this next session on making Oklahoma’s higher education system the best in the nation.”
Johnson points to the bold initiatives developed through the citizen-led Task Force on the Future of Higher Education as a roadmap to modernizing, restructuring and strengthening the state system of higher education to meet the evolving workforce and economic challenges facing the state while still maintaining accessibility, affordability, and top quality educational opportunities for students.
“As I have noted in past comments,” said Johnson, “the State Regents and I look forward to working with Governor Stitt and legislative leaders, as well as our CareerTech and common education colleagues, to identify and implement educational priorities to move our state forward and improve our national rankings during the upcoming legislative session.”