New WCU business dean has academic, business experience

Ronald A. Johnson, who holds the JP Morgan Chase Chair in Finance in the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University, is the next dean of the College of Business at Western Carolina University.


Johnson’s appointment, announced Monday, April 30, by WCU Provost Kyle Carter, comes after a nationwide search that began in November. Johnson will be taking over the reins from Leroy Kauffman, dean of the WCU College of Business since 2003. A resident of Clyde, Kauffman is stepping down from the deanship July 1 to return to the faculty.

At Texas Southern, Johnson developed a new concentration in finance focused on quantitative skills, advanced practical knowledge, and professional proficiency in financial analysis with an emphasis on the energy sector. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas Southern in 2005, he was president and chief investment officer at Smith Graham & Co. in Houston.

Johnson has served as chief strategist and head of research for Americas Trust Bank in Miami, division chief of domestic financial markets for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and director of global fixed income research and senior portfolio manager for Templeton Worldwide Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He taught at Florida A&M University, Northeastern University in Boston and Howard University in Washington, D.C., and was an economist for the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve System board of governors.

“Ronald Johnson has a strong background that blends knowledge and experience from the business sector — including top investment and securities firms, and national and international economic agencies — with a familiarity with the academic environment,” Carter said. “Ron will be a valuable asset to the university as we continue our efforts to serve as an economic and entrepreneurial engine for the region. He will be called upon to build and strengthen relationships with business and industry partners at the local, regional and national levels.”

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Johnson earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in economics from Stanford University, and his master’s degree in finance and bachelor’s degree in economics from Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y.

Active in civic and higher education organizations, Johnson is chair of the investment committee of the Cougar Investment Fund Board of the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, and a member of the board of overseers of the Wright Fund at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University. He also is a member of the finance, audit and investment committees of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, investment committee of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, and board of directors of Goodwill Industries of Southeast Texas. Johnson is a former advisory trustee of the Houston Ballet and Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Houston.

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