Tennessee State University Board of Trustees Names Dr. Ronald Johnson Interim President

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Ronald Johnson to serve as the Interim President of the University, effective July 1, 2024. Dr. Johnson’s distinguished career in higher education spans nearly two decades, with significant leadership roles at some of our nation’s most distinguished historically Black universities (HBCUs).

He is known for his commitment to amplifying student success and strengthening the financial health and long-term sustainability of colleges and universities through a culture of accountability, shared governance, mentorship, and continuous improvement.

Johnson is the former President of Clark Atlanta University (CAU) from 2015-2018, where he successfully led the transformation and comprehensive turnaround plans for the University.  He recently served as Interim President at Kentucky State University (KSU), where he managed the day-to-day operations of the university and leveraged his leadership and financial expertise to build a foundation for long-term sustainability and to address the financial challenges facing the university.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Ronald Johnson and have him join the TSU family,” said Board Chair Dakasha Winton. “Dr. Johnson’s distinguished higher education career, along with his accomplishments as an exceptional administrator, makes him the right fit for TSU at this time.” 

Johnson, a well-respected and recognized leader in higher education, is also a former member of the President’s Advisory Board of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and served as the Chairman of the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of the United States. He is also a co-founder and Advisory Board Member of the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at CAU and a recipient of its inaugural Frederick S. Humphries Leadership Award.

“Fellow trustees and I look forward to collaborating with Dr. Johnson,” Winton added. “His proven leadership in strategically addressing complex issues, while developing innovative paths forward will further lead the University during this transition. I know working with our students, staff, alumni and fellow board members, this next chapter will cement TSU’s legacy of excellence.”

Retiring President Glenda Glover said Johnson’s experience and professional leadership will continue TSU’s legacy of excellence.

“Dr. Johnson is an excellent leader and did an incredible job at Clark Atlanta. I am especially proud because I had the pleasure of attending Clark Atlanta for business school.  I will provide Dr. Johnson with any necessary support as he takes the helm of our great institution to continue the legacy of excellence that is the hallmark of Tennessee State University.”

Johnson has served as a faculty member at Texas Southern University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, and Northeastern University. 

Johnson earned a PhD and MA in economics from Stanford University, after completing an MBA in finance and a BA in economics from Adelphi University.

Johnson will serve as Interim President for one year, while the Board of Trustees conducts a national search to hire a permanent President.  Read more about Dr. Johnson here.

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically Black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research-intensive institution with an R-2 Carnegie designation and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Off-Campus Instructional Site, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.