The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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President Kristina M. Johnson is honorary captain of Team Buckeye for Pelotonia this August.

Photo by Logan Wallace

A first-year Buckeye reflects

Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson takes our questions on Pelotonia, fitness and challenges that make us stronger.

We posed a few questions to President Kristina M. Johnson as she wrapped up her first academic year at Ohio State. She was grateful for the invitation, noting, “The depth and breadth of our alumni community is a testament to our strength and success as a university. Their continued interest, support and involvement help to ensure the continuation of our mission as a modern land-grant institution of higher learning.”

You’ve jumped right in to life as a Buckeye. What’s something you’re looking forward to in these next few months?

I’m serving this summer as the honorary captain for Team Buckeye in this year’s Pelotonia ride to fight cancer — I’m excited about that. This is very personal for me. Alumni may know I survived Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymph system. Funding for cancer research and treatment advancements will enable more people to have positive outcomes, as I did. The incredible research funded through Pelotonia increases the potential for a cure, something I hope to see achieved in my lifetime.

Alumni can get involved with Pelotonia as riders, volunteers or challengers. If participating is not possible, you can find alumni who are engaged and donate to their rides. This important cause deserves the full engagement of Buckeye Nation. If you’re in the Ohio area, come join me for the ride! And please donate to this important cause.

It’s great you’ve gotten involved in Pelotonia. As a former college athlete, how do you stay physically fit?

Staying fit is and always has been an integral part of my personal routine. Getting onto my bike — either out on the road or on my stationary bike doing a spin class — is a great way to keep active and burn off steam. I also love to lift weights, jog, play golf and ski. One of the highlights of the past year was revisiting my college days and joining a field hockey practice to keep my skills sharp.

Lymphoma is something difficult you dealt with as a student. What advice do you have for first-year students starting college at this challenging time?

I have been lucky throughout my life to have received the support of so many people — professors, family, friends, colleagues and fellow students — who helped me weather personal and professional challenges. Over this past pandemic year, I was consistently impressed and moved by the willingness of members of our university family to help one another and take steps to assure the safety of the community.

Our Student COVID Alliance formed to help fellow Buckeyes living in isolation and quarantine by providing them with personalized care packages. The small things — a kind word, an unexpected gesture — are equally important to solving the world’s most intractable problems, and they help remind me of the goodness in the world. I look forward to welcoming our next class of Buckeyes, who we hope will be able to fully experience all that Ohio State has to offer.

Join a winning team

Ride along with President Johnson for Pelotonia as a member of Team Buckeye or learn more about assisting as a volunteer or donor.