University of Rio Grande Names New President

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

RIO GRANDE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College has announced the appointment of Dr. Michelle R. Johnston, as its 22nd president.

Johnston is the second female president in the school's 138-year history. She will assume her duties on Monday, Sept. 29 with a three-year contract.

“I am honored, humbled and extremely excited to be joining the ranks of Rio Grande,” Johnston said. “The hearts and minds at Rio are focused on students; My interests and passions have revolved around ‘students first’ through every step of my career. My hope is that this shared purpose will be the springboard from which we reach unprecedented success.”

Johnston was selected following a six-month national search by both the URG and RGCC Board of Trustees.

Johnston previously served as Senior Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama.

At Rio, Johnston says she plans to build a more vibrant campus spirit while also expanding external awareness, growing enrollment and increasing philanthropic support. And she believes the makings for each already are present.

“As I experienced Rio Grande up close, I was blown away by the strong leadership and determination among the boards, impressive faculty and staff, community-focused atmosphere, and students and alumni who are making a significant difference in this region and the world,” Johnston said. “This particular chemistry makes the possibilities endless for Rio Grande. I can’t wait to listen to the campus community and learn about their creative ideas for attracting, retaining and serving students."

Johnston also has held administrative positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Mississippi State University, Wood College and Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas.

Johnston holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Mississippi State University, a Master of Music from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Alabama. She also has post-doctoral work in management and marketing from the University of Florida.

Interim President Paul Harrison will resume his normal role as Executive Vice President and Vice President of Institutional Advancement on Sept. 29.

Harrison assumed interim duties when Rio Grande’s 21st President, Barbara Gellman-Danley, Ph.D., took over presidency of the Higher Learning Commission.


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