You are the foundation of our tenacious family
President Kristina M. Johnson thanks alumni for being incredible Buckeye ambassadors. Read more about her memorable first year at The Ohio State University.
Dear Buckeye alumni,
When I arrived on my first day as Ohio State’s 16th president, I was excited, eager and, truth be told, just a little bit anxious. In one sense, I was coming home, returning to a campus where, as family lore has it, my grandfather met my grandmother before he graduated in 1896 — clearly a critical moment that set my life’s trajectory long before I was even born.
I also was stepping into a great unknown, taking the reins of one of the nation’s most prestigious land grant universities at the height of a public health crisis. Everything from how long we would be able to safely hold in-person classes to whether we would have a football season was up in the air.
We have come so far in the past 15 months, and I have learned so much about what it means to be a Buckeye. I am inspired by the energy, spirit and, most of all, the abiding tenacity that defines the people of this university community — including alumni like you.
I have learned that Buckeyes are fearless and thrive in the face of adversity. We had many opportunities to hone these qualities in 2020–21, when we established a far-reaching COVID-19 surveillance testing program, which — combined with a mass vaccination effort — kept us teaching, learning, working and competing in athletics for the entire academic year.
Now, we have an opportunity to define what it means to be a model land grant university in another way — with a bold commitment to academic, research and service excellence — and an ambitious goal to offer all undergraduates the opportunity to graduate without student debt.
As you know better than anyone, our faculty are outstanding. And we are working to expand their ranks to provide students with the very best academic experiences. As part of those efforts, we will strengthen our already superb scholarship on inequities and racial disparities through an initiative called RAISE — short for race, inclusion and social equity — by recruiting additional faculty who focus on fields such as health care and STEM education.
We also are investing in our knowledge enterprise, with a $750 million commitment to fund critical research over the next 10 years. This will take us to new heights of exploration and innovation, facilitating technological breakthroughs we cannot even begin to imagine today.
As alumni, you are incredible Buckeye ambassadors because you represent what is possible with an Ohio State education. And as we educate the next generation of doers, thinkers, dreamers and achievers, Ohio State — and the world — needs your help. Whether you support students through scholarships, mentor young alumni or give back to your alma mater in other ways, I am grateful for your continued support and connection.
Thank you for all you have done to make my first year as Ohio State president memorable and successful. Your friendship, counsel and expertise have helped me and my wife, Veronica Meinhard, through a year of unexpected joys, painful sorrow and complex challenges. Your courage and belief in our university family give us immense hope for what lies ahead.
We truly feel part of the Buckeye community, and we know we are exactly where we belong.
Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
President, The Ohio State University