The Nevada Board of Regents today unanimously approved Chancellor Dan Klaich's recommendation of Marc Johnson to serve as interim president of the University of Nevada, Reno. Johnson, who has served as executive vice president and provost at the University since 2008, called the appointment a "high honor."
"This is a quality institution with a strong reputation for continuing in the great tradition of public, land-grant universities," said Johnson. "In my three years with the University, I have been impressed by the extent to which faculty and staff embrace our teaching and research missions and by their strongly held commitment to statewide service and to Nevada's future economic development and well-being."
"During our visits with the various campus constituents, it became clear to me, Vice Chair Jason Geddes and Chancellor Dan Klaich, that Dr. Johnson was the best choice to assume the UNR presidency," said Board of Regents Chairman James Dean Leavitt. "He has the experience, the knowledge and the vision to lead this university. He is the right person at the right time to continue to move UNR forward."
The appointment of interim president follows the sudden death of University President Milt Glick on April 16, 2011. In a message to University faculty and staff, Johnson acknowledged the loss as well as current budgetary challenges faced by the University.
"I remain, however, very hopeful for the future of the University of Nevada, Reno," he said. "Despite the budgetary challenges we face, our campus has shown a remarkable capacity of spirit.
"Going forward our University will continue President Glick's legacy of student success, quality undergraduate and graduate academic and research offerings and community engagement through outreach. We have a talented and cohesive team that will ensure that our roots for continuity and collaboration will remain strong."
As provost, often described as a university's chief academic officer, Johnson has been responsible for academic and outreach programs and related support services such as faculty development and tenure, academic budgeting and curricular planning. The University's academic units, including the colleges, schools and extended studies, report to Johnson. He also led the development of the University's Strategic Plan, which provides an operational blueprint through 2015 and incorporates input from individuals and divisions from across the University.
Johnson was raised and employed on his family's fruit farm near Wichita, Kan., and began his career as a laboratory and instructional assistant at the Kansas State Teachers College. As his career in higher education has progressed, Johnson has served several notable land-grant universities. Prior to coming to Nevada, Johnson was dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University (CSU). He joined CSU in 2003 as vice provost for agriculture and outreach and dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, and also served as interim director of Colorado Cooperative Extension and interim state forester of Colorado State Forest Service, both hosted through CSU. From 1992 to 2003, Johnson was dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and director of the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. Prior to that he was a member of the faculty at Oklahoma State University and served in faculty and administrative roles at North Carolina State University.
Johnson received his bachelor's degree in biology from Emporia State University in Kansas, which named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 1994. His advanced degrees include a master of technology in international development from North Carolina State University, a master of economics from Michigan State University and a doctorate of agriculture economics from Michigan State University. Johnson's research and teaching have been based in economics, with an emphasis on national and international food distribution systems.
The appointment of Johnson as interim president follows a series of campus meetings conducted by Klaich, Leavitt and Regents' Vice Chair Jason Geddes to hear input from faculty, staff and students. The regents approved the recommendation to appoint Johnson at their May 6 meeting in Las Vegas. During the meeting, Leavitt announced the board will initiate a national search next fall for the University president position.