Schreyer Honors College dean Peggy A. Johnson to retire from Penn State

October 29, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Peggy A. Johnson, dean of the Schreyer Honors College and a professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, has announced her intention to retire from Penn State in August 2021.

Schreyer Honors College Dean and civil engineering professor Peggy A. Johnson
IMAGE: Steve Tressler

The University plans to conduct a national search for Johnson’s replacement as dean.

“As dean of the Schreyer Honors College, Peggy has advanced Penn State’s already stellar reputation for offering students a premier honors education,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost. “Peggy has had a tremendous positive impact as a dean and as a Penn State faculty member for nearly 25 years. I’m very grateful for her longtime service to the University in multiple leadership roles and wish her all the best.”

Johnson, who has been a professor at Penn State since 1996, became dean of the Honors College in July 2017, succeeding interim dean Kathleen Bieschke. She oversaw the appointment of the Honors College’s first assistant dean of equity and inclusion, its first full-time data analyst position, and its first financial officer. One of Johnson’s primary emphases during her time as dean has been the creation of more equitable opportunities for Schreyer Scholars who joined the college as current Penn State students, including raising funds to provide need-based scholarships for these students.

“The joy of the job is that I could truly focus on a group of really amazing Penn State students and the staff that supports the college,” Johnson said. “One of the things I really appreciate about these students is that they are not just smart; they’re very worldly in their thinking. They think about how it’s all going to fit together not only in terms of their careers but how it fits into the greater society.”

During Johnson’s tenure, the college developed a new strategic plan for 2020-25, including the creation of a new ethics program for Scholars and expanded initiatives with a focus on diversity and inclusivity. The plan also places a renewed emphasis on health and well-being for students and staff and increased sustainability initiatives. After a multi-year assessment in conjunction with University faculty, the college recently announced a set of intended student learning outcomes that will more clearly define the honors experience at Penn State.

“As we look toward the future, she has really put the college in an excellent position to think about what the next generation of Schreyer Scholars can do,” Schreyer Honors College Associate Dean Keefe B. Manning said.

Johnson joined the Penn State faculty in 1996 and served as head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2006 to 2015. She has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals on bridge scour (sediment), stream restoration, uncertainty in hydraulics, and the probability of scour-related bridge failure. She serves on the American Society of Engineers (ASCE) Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee.

Johnson has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASCE-EWRI (Environmental & Water Resources Institute) and the ASCE Hans Albert Einstein Award (2016) and was named the ASCE-EWRI Outstanding Woman of the Year in 2012. She received the Penn State Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award for her outstanding mentorship of junior faculty in 2014, was named an Outstanding Alum by New Mexico State University in 2009, and received the National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow Award in 1995.

Johnson received her bachelor of science degree in geology from New Mexico State University and her master of science and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park. She held faculty positions at the University of Maryland and served as a graduate research Fellow at the Federal Highway Administration in Virginia before coming to Penn State.

Last Updated November 03, 2020