Chancellor Glen D. Johnson was recognized as chancellor emeritus during yesterday’s meeting of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He is retiring Sept. 30 after 14.5 years of service as chancellor of the Oklahoma state system of higher education.

“Chancellor Johnson has been a champion for the Oklahoma state system of public higher education for more than 14 years, and has provided four decades of public service to our state,” said State Regents’ Chair Jeffrey W. Hickman. “His commitment to expanding college access, his focus on increasing degree completion, and his advocacy on behalf of public colleges and universities will be missed, but his tireless dedication to Oklahoma students is a cause he inspires us all to continue.”

Johnson was named chancellor in January 2007 following a national search.

“It has been my privilege to represent Oklahoma public higher education at the state and national level as we have worked to ensure that our state higher education system prepares Oklahoma graduates to succeed in a globally competitive workforce,” said Johnson. “I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the State Regents.”

Before assuming the role of chancellor, Johnson served as the 16th president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant for 10 years. He also served as director of public policy and adjunct professor of law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Prior to his work at OU, Johnson 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.
Johnson received the State Higher Education Executive Officers’ (SHEEO) Exceptional Leader Award honoring the outstanding Chancellor/system-head in the nation in July 2019. In September 2020, he received Leadership Oklahoma’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Johnson was recently honored with the Oklahoma Academy’s 2021 Oklahoma Key Contributor Award.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education is a nine-member constitutional board that coordinates all 25 public higher education institutions in Oklahoma. The board prescribes academic standards of higher education, determines functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, grants degrees, makes budget requests to the Legislature, allocates funding for each college and university, recommends proposed fees within limits set by the Legislature, and manages numerous scholarships and special programs. State regents are appointed by the governor for nine-year terms.