Craig Johnson Named President of Ridgewater College

Posted: April 18, 2018

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 18, 2018 – The Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has named Craig Johnson to serve as president of Ridgewater College. The appointment becomes effective July 1, 2018.

“Dr. Johnson possesses both the professional experiences and personal qualities that will make him a truly outstanding leader for Ridgewater College, notably his open and transparent leadership of multi-campus institutions in rural, agricultural settings in three states,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “He will work closely with students, faculty, and staff to serve the Ridgewater mission and to find new ways to connect the college with potential students and with the Willmar and Hutchinson communities.”

Craig Johnson

Johnson brings 30 years of experience in higher education spanning administrative, academic staff, and faculty positions. He has served since 2014 the as the executive director of the University Center-South Dakota Public Universities & Research Center, where he led a strategic planning project that expanded the Center’s mission to include a community college focus, helped develop new program articulations and joint marketing efforts, and increased community engagement. Previously, he served as director of the branch campus of Winona State University in Rochester from 2007 to 2014 where he played a lead role in joint efforts to create a new Welcome Center to assist incoming and transfer students and a STEM Village capital project. He also served as the administrator of the West Bend campus of Moraine Park Technical College (WI) from 2000 to 2007, and as the academic resources coordinator/visual resources curator for the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (now College of Design) for the University of Minnesota. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a master’s from Tulane University, and a master’s and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.


Ridgewater College is a community and technical college with campuses in the central Minnesota communities of Willmar and Hutchinson. The college serves more than 5,000 students through its nearly 100 academic programs and more than 68,000 training hours for individuals and businesses through customized training and continuing education. The college is a member of Minnesota State and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  

Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 375,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.