Black Hills State University honored retiring Regent and BHSU alum Dr. Kathryn Johnson (right) with an original painting by Paige Michael (left), a BHSU art education student, as the South Dakota Board of Regents concluded their meetings on campus in Spearfish recently. Johnson has spent her professional career working as a geochemist and advocating for research, innovation, and education in South Dakota.
As the Board of Regents meeting concluded at Black Hills State University last week, BHSU honored the retirement of one of the University’s distinguished alumni and a strong supporter of education in the State of South Dakota, Regent Dr. Kathryn Johnson.
Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., BHSU President, noted Johnson’s advocacy of research and innovation throughout the state and her continual emphasis on improving educational options for students.
“Regent Johnson has been a consistent and strong voice for students in South Dakota and we’re proud to call her an alum of Black Hills State. Today we honored Regent Johnson for her leadership and vision for education for the state. We thank her for more than a decade of service on the Board of Regents,” said Jackson.
BHSU presented Johnson with a painting by Paige Michael, a BHSU art education student. The painting was created as part of a BHSU video project highlighting the beauty of the Black Hills.
“Regent Johnson is one of our most distinguished alumni and her service with the Board of Regents has greatly impacted students. We thought it was fitting to show our appreciation with a masterpiece created by a BHSU student,” Jackson said.
Johnson earned her Bachelor of Science degrees in chemistry and math from BHSU in 1975, completing her college studies in three years. She obtained her master’s in chemistry from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in geology from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She was appointed to the South Dakota Board of Regents in 2005 by Governor Mike Rounds. She served as President of the Regents from 2011-2013.
A native of western S.D. and resident of Hill City, Johnson has spent her professional career of more than three decades working in mineral development and environmental issues as a geochemist. She consults with industry, business and government through her company, Johnson Environmental Concepts.
In addition to her work with the Board of Regents, Johnson also sits on the Board of Directors for the Otter Tail Corporation, an energy company based in Minnesota. She also owns Pet Pantry in Rapid City and previously worked as a project manager at Morrison Knudsen in Boise, Idaho.
Johnson was federally appointed to the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology, and is a member of the National Research Council Committee on Women in Science & Engineering. She was a 1997 Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow and is a member of the American Chemical Society, Geochemical and Environmental Sections; South Dakota Association of Environmental Professionals; and the Environmental Assessment Association.