On June 1, 2015, the Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Paul C. Johnson as the 17th president of Colorado School of Mines. He officially assumed his duties on July 1, 2015.

Paul C. Johnson, the 17th President of Colorado School of Mines

Pal C. Johnson, the 17th President of Colorado School of Mines, officially assumed his duties on July 1, 2015. (Kathleen Morton)

Johnson joins Mines from Arizona State University (ASU), where he served as dean and executive dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering since 2006 and as a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment. He has also served as ASU’s associate vice president for research and the Fulton Schools †associate dean for research. Before joining ASU’s faculty in 1994, Johnson was a senior research engineer at the Shell Oil/Shell Chemical Westhollow Technology Center.

Jim Spaanstra, chair of the Mines Board of Trustees said, Paul Johnson brings a distinguished track record of teaching, research, public service, and leadership. Throughout the search process it was clear that he understood Mines and its rich history, unique role and mission, and opportunities for enhancing global distinction. We are confident the university will be in great hands to guide it as we seek to achieve our strategic aspirations.

I am excited and honored to be named Mines 17th president, said Johnson. Since being named a finalist, I have received emails from connections to Mines that I did not know existed. Mines far-reaching, engaged, and supportive network is impressive. From on-campus meetings it is clear that Mines has the components and drive to become the premier engineering and applied science university.

I look forward to working with the students, staff, faculty, alumni, and Mines global network to achieve that aspiration. Johnson is also looking forward to participating in Mines longest-standing tradition for new incoming students. I’ve been searching for the perfect 10-pound rock to carry up to the M on Mt. Zion, he said.

Johnson is internationally recognized for his expertise in soil and groundwater remediation and risk assessment. Teaching, though, remains his passion. Johnson has received numerous outstanding educator awards and was twice selected the top teacher in the Fulton Schools at ASU. Colorado School of Mines emphasis on both teaching and research was a key attraction for Johnson. Every institution that I have chosen to be a part of has emphasized the importance of both teaching and research, noted Johnson. I have taught almost every semester during my 21 years as a university faculty member and administrator and will continue that at Mines.

Born in Washington, D.C., Johnson attended high school in Walnut Creek, Calif. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of California-Davis, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton University. Johnson and his wife, Elyse, an elementary school teacher, have two adult children; Kyle is an editor in Mesa, Ariz., and Kaitlin is a chemical engineering graduate student at the University of California-Davis.

Johnson is the co-author of 12 U.S. patents and has received awards recognizing the impact of his research and contributions to the groundwater profession, including the National Ground Water Association’s Keith E. Anderson Award (2010) and the Lifetime Award in Remediation sponsored by Brown and Caldwell (2014). His research group has received Project of the Year Awards from both the Environmental Security Technology Certification and Strategic Environmental Research and Development Programs, which are given by the U.S. Department of Defense in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnson served on the National Research Council Committee on Future Options of the Nation’s Subsurface Remediation Effort. He also served as the editor for the National Ground Water Association’s journal,Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation.