Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Glen D. Johnson

Public education and public funding for it were virtually invented by the Revolutionary leaders of the United States when the nation was first born-and in many ways this path has been the one traveled by nations over the world in their search for prosperity and cultural fulfillment. The task of fighting for those funds has to be undertaken by a few dauntless and energetic individuals, and few have been as meritorious and persistent as has Glen D. Johnson, the current Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. For 34 years, Dr. Johnson has devoted himself to furthering the cause of public higher education. Born in Oklahoma City and graduating from high school in Muskogee, Glen D. Johnson went on to be a Phi Beta Kappa honors graduate at the University of Oklahoma, and from that institution he obtained a juris doctorate from the OU College of Law in 1979. In 1982, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives and served until 1996, the last six years serving as Speaker of the House. At the time of his election as Speaker, he was the youngest sitting Speaker of the House in the nation. His devotion to higher education and public education stood out. He was instrumental in passing House Bill 1017 that reformed and funded common education, and as chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, he authored the Endowed Chairs Program and brought into being the OneNet telecommunications program. In 1992, he was responsible for the Act that established a $350 million higher education capital bond issue. He also served as the principal House author of the Quality Jobs Bill in 1993. After his service in the House of Representatives, he worked for the University of Oklahoma as Director of Public Policy and served as an adjunct professor of law. In 1997, he became president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he implemented an $85 million capital campaign that built a new student union, an arena and convocation center, residence halls, biological sciences building, a small business development center, and a new large classroom building. From 2004-2005, he served as Chair of the Council of Presidents. In 2007, he was named Chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, where he serves to this day. For the last ten years, Chancellor Johnson has served as the spokesman for higher education in the state and has emphasized collegiate education's role in economic prosperity and cultural enrichment, college degree completion, and college affordability. Accolades have of course been bestowed upon him. The student union at Southeastern Oklahoma State University was named the Glen D. Johnson Student Union by the Regional University System of the Oklahoma Board of Regents in 201 O; he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Oklahoma City University in 2009, was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2006, and has been named a Life Fellow of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), on the Executive Committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), on the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities (AGB) Council of Presidents, and as Chairman of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority  (OETA).

Chancellor Johnson has also completed two terms of service on the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Board of Directors. The OHEHS is proud to induct Glen D. Johnson into the 2016 class of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.