LIMA — The Ohio State University’s newest president took a trip to the Lima branch campus Friday to tour the facilities and talk to various stakeholders.
Appointed in August, Dr. Kristina M. Johnson took up the position as 16th president of Ohio’s largest university system after spending 30 years in leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, she served as chancellor of the State University of New York, where she led a system of 64 public colleges and universities.
“It’s a new position. I’ve never been a president before,” Johnson said. “Just every day, you get up, you say, ‘What can I do today to make it better for everybody?’ And I think if that’s your North Star, everything else works out for you. So, it’s still a work in progress. I’m still learning a lot, which is why I’m here today in Lima.”
During her Friday visit, OSU-Lima Dean Tim Rehner said the president spent a lot of time taking a listening approach to those at the branch as she’s working to familiarize herself with the many moving parts that comprise The Ohio State University.
“It was delightful to have the president of the university here in her second month,” Rehner said. “Our goal is to be a destination campus, and she definitely integrated that idea.”
Due to her past engineering experience, Johnson is uniquely equipped to help out places like the Lima campus, which consistently takes up training roles for manufacturing hubs. At one time, Johnson served as an engineering professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and she holds more than 100 United States and international patents.
She’s also served as CEO of ColorLink, which focused on micro-displays and color-polarizing technologies. Because of her business experience, she said she’s seen the success of internship opportunities. She met with local staff Friday that coordinate such programs for students interested in technical fields.
“I’m looking for even tighter connections between all the campuses and the main campus with regard to engineering and then looking for local industry to help us with providing internships and externships. Our students can really experience the joy of engineering. I mean, I’m an engineer, I loved it. It’s been a great career,” Johnson said.
The branch campus at Lima was the first branch in the OSU education system to be visited by Johnson.
Johnson succeeded Michael Drake, who had served as OSU’s president since 2014. In July, Drake became president of the University of California system.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.