Kristina Johnson

Chancellor, State University of New York


Kristina Johnson was appointed Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) in 2017. Previously, she was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cube Hydro Partners, LLC. From May 2009 until October 2010, she served as undersecretary at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. Prior to her appointment as undersecretary, Johnson was provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University (2007 to 2009) and dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University from 1999 until 2007. After a NATO post-Doctoral Fellowship at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, she joined the University of Colorado-Boulder’s faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 1994. From 1994 to 1999, Johnson directed the National Science Foundation (NSF)/Engineering Research Center for Optoelectronics Computing Systems Center at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.

Johnson was named an NSF Presidential Young Investigator in 1985 and a Fulbright Faculty Scholar in 1991. Her other academic awards include the Dennis Gabor Prize for creativity and innovation in modern optics (1993) and the John Fritz Medal (2008), widely considered the highest award in the engineering profession. Johnson was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 2003, and she received the Society of Women Engineers Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), the ARCS Foundation Eagle Award for science and education (2009), the Woman of Vision Award for Leadership by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (2010), Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (2014), and the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame (2015). Johnson has published 147 refereed papers and proceedings, holds 45 U.S. patents (118 U.S. and international patents), and has received honorary degrees from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Tufts University, and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

She was recognized for her work in technology transfer and entrepreneurship by the states of Colorado and North Carolina (1997, 2001), and she received the 2010 Milton Steward Award from the Small Business Technology Council. Johnson is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America; International Electronics and Electrical Engineering; SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering (former board member); and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also co-founded several companies, including ColorLink, Inc., which was sold to RealD, and is responsible for 3D effects in movies such as Avatar and Gravity. Johnson also serves on the Board of Directors of Boston Scientific Corporation, Rocky Mountain Institute, AES Corporation, and Cisco Systems.

She received her BS (with distinction), MS, and PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University.