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Chancellor Emeritus Glen D. Johnson

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Chancellor Glen D. Johnson
Chancellor Glen D. Johnson

Dr. Glen D. Johnson was chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education from 2007-21. He led a state system comprised of 25 state colleges and universities and 10 constituent agencies. Johnson provided leadership on matters relating to standards for Oklahoma higher education, courses and programs of study, budget allocations for institutions, fees and tuition, and strategic planning. The State Regents named him Chancellor Emeritus in September 2021.


Johnson became eighth chancellor of the Oklahoma State System in January 2007 after a national search. Before assuming the role of chancellor, Johnson served as the 16th president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant for 10 years. 

During his tenure as president at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Johnson implemented an $85 million capital campaign to build a new student union, residence hall, arena and convocation center, biological sciences building, SBDC center and campus security, and a new large classroom building.

Johnson 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 has been recognized both statewide and nationally as a strong, untiring advocate for funding for education, both secondary and higher education, in Oklahoma. His powerful political career was a model of success in leadership, as evidenced by the variety of his many major accomplishments not only for his own District 24 (Hughes, Okfuskee and Okmulgee counties), but also in major initiatives, funding and improvements for the entire state of Oklahoma as speaker of the House and chair of important legislative committees.  He was also the principal House author of the landmark Quality Jobs Bill.

During his term in the House, Johnson was instrumental in the passage of HB 1017, Oklahoma’s landmark education reform legislation, and served as chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. He authored Senate Bill 180 in 1988 that created the Endowed Chairs Program and spearheaded the opportunity to use $14 million from the proceeds of the higher education bond issue for OneNet. In 1992 he was principal House author of HB 2428, the $350 million higher education bond issue.

Academic Credentials and Honors

Johnson is an honors graduate of the University of Oklahoma, with an undergraduate degree in political science and a juris doctorate degree from the OU College of Law. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and currently serves on the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity National Foundation board of directors.

Johnson holds memberships in numerous professional, state and national organizations and has been the recipient of many awards and honors during his career. In 2012 he was elected to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and currently serves as vice chairman. In 2014, Johnson was appointed to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Council of Presidents. In 2014, he was elected to serve on the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Executive Committee.

He is also a founding member of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 1986. He is a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame‚Äôs Executive Board of Directors and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November of 2006.  He was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2016. He is a member of the Oklahoma State Fair Board of Directors. 

He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Oklahoma City University in 2009 and has been named as a Life Fellow of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. Johnson also received the State Higher Education Executive Officers’ (SHEEO) Exceptional Leader Award in July of 2019 and received Leadership Oklahoma’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020. He was selected for Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame in November 2021.


Johnson is the son of former U.S. Congressman Glen D. Johnson Sr. and Imogene Johnson and was born in Oklahoma City. He attended grade school in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Muskogee High School in 1972. Johnson and his wife, Melinda, a retired teacher live in Oklahoma City.

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