New SUNY chancellor visits SUNY Morrisville

Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and Morrisville State College President David E. Rogers.

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During one of her first visits in the 64 SUNY campus circuit, SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson spoke with Morrisville State College faculty and staff about energy and environmental goals and the importance of small business innovation and entrepreneurship.

“I’ve never been to a college like Morrisville State,” Johnson said. “It’s applied learning on steroids.”

The chancellor delivered the keynote address at the college’s learning summit, “Sustainability and Growth in the 21st Century Workplace to Ensure New York’s Economic Growth.” The summit supported applied learning initiatives on campus and showcased the college’s efforts to prepare students for 21st century careers that will support the economic growth and stability of New York State.

Throughout the day, Chancellor Johnson met with Morrisville State College President David Rogers, several advisory boards and learned about the college’s latest initiatives, before meeting with students.

“I’m excited about the future of applied learning,” Johnson said.

“I’m very passionate about this. I want to be your partner. I want to use my experiences to bring staying power to this community,” she said.

In addition to promoting excellence in research and teaching, Chancellor Johnson is focused on environmental sustainability.

“We lead this work through exciting new ventures including on-campus organic farming with both low- and high-tunnel production, and indoor farming or controlled-environment agriculture, involving both aquaponics and hydroponics,” Rogers said. 

The college established a high-tunnel greenhouse last year, when it also received certification for its organic farming. The operation joined the college’s 4,000-gallon aquaponics system in a controlled environment agriculture (CEA) greenhouse, which can produce up to 22,000 heads of lettuce and 1,700 pounds of tilapia per year. Both facilities share the advantage of extending growing seasons and protecting crops.

Chancellor Johnson also plans to boost SUNY’s role as an economic and job-creating engine for the state and sees SUNY colleges as providing the industry with skilled graduates.

“As dynamic shifts take place in the New York economy, Morrisville’s applied learning approach is poised to prepare the next generation of innovative leaders for them,” Rogers said.

Kristi Andersen, chair of the College Council, expressed her excitement over the new chancellor’s plans.  

“She is going to be a great supporter and partner for SUNY Morrisville,” Andersen said. “She is a wonderful match with what we are doing here.”

“I have a strong sense that we are going to move faster than we ever have,” Rogers said.

About Chancellor Johnson
An engineer and inventor who served as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy in the Obama administration, Chancellor Johnson has been both a teacher and researcher. She holds many U.S. patents and has started numerous companies. Her inventions include a camera that can detect cancerous or precancerous cells and technology used in 3-D movies like “Avatar.”

Johnson was named the 13th chancellor of SUNY following Nancy Zimpher’s decision to step down and has served in her new role since Sept. 5.

Chancellor Johnson received her B.S. with distinction, M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. 

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