The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Logan Wallace

Q&A with President Johnson

Fresh off a productive summer, Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson answers alumni questions about being a Buckeye, her first-year learnings and more.

President Kristina M. Johnson spent her summer visiting Ohio State’s campuses and colleges, bolstering partnerships and planning for a robust academic year, including a return to the traditions Buckeyes know and love. (Whew!) She made some time for fun, too — including reading books by Ohio State alumni and cheering on Buckeyes in the Olympics with her wife, Veronica.

As she begins her second year, Johnson is looking forward to more opportunities to get to know her fellow Buckeyes — and that includes responding to questions from alumni. Here are her answers to some of your most recent questions:

Having started your tenure in the midst of a pandemic, what have you learned about the strength and heart of Buckeye Nation? — Lynda Waugh ’87

Great question, Lynda! I learned that “education for citizenship” is more than a motto: It’s how we do things as Buckeyes. I witnessed so many of our faculty, students, staff and alumni paying forward in extraordinary ways over the past year and a half. Buckeyes are so resilient and caring, and they never shy away from leading the charge for a better future for all. I couldn’t be any prouder of this university, and I’m honored to be part of it.

What are your plans for making an Ohio State education more affordable to undergraduates? — Nicholas Denton ’13, ’18 PhD

We are going to work to ensure our undergraduates leave the university debt free in this decade. Ohio State has several ongoing programs focused on increasing access. For example, the President’s Affordability Grant program provides support to 15,000 low- and moderate-income students annually. The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee offers Ohio students and families certainty about the cost of a four-year college education. I want to thank our caring community of alumni donors, who support the university so we can provide these opportunities for our students to succeed.

Any problem becoming a diehard Buckeye fan? — James Bieber ’64, ’68 OD

Not at all — being a Buckeye is in my DNA! My grandfather, Charles W. Johnson, Class of 1896, met my grandmother, Evelyn Vaughan, here. Family lore has it that they fell in love on the Oval. Veronica and I are former college athletes, so we were beyond excited to join a university with such a rich athletics life. And as an engineer, it’s always been my dream to follow in my grandfather’s engineering footsteps at Ohio State.

What will you do to promote the superb academics and professors at Ohio State? — Robert Kinney ’71

I am excited to work with Dr. Melissa Gilliam, our new executive vice president and provost and chief academic officer, to advance our collective vision for faculty and academic excellence.

Dr. Gilliam is an accomplished leader in higher education with an impressive track record in recruiting and developing innovative faculty across disciplines. As a physician and research scientist with a focus on adolescent health and well-being, she will continue the fine tradition of exceptional student education at Ohio State. I can’t wait for our faculty, staff, students and alumni to get to know us!

​Ask away! 

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