Johnson, J. Lee

  • Title: Senior Vice President for Business and Finance
  • Department: Business Office
  • Ph.D., University of Toledo; M.B.A., Economics, Bowling Green State University; B.S., Finance, The Ohio State University.
  • Phone: 517-264-7108
  • Campus: Adrian
  • Building: Sacred Heart Hall
  • Office #: 203
  • About
Senior Vice President for Business and Finance


Lee Johnson serves as the Senior Vice President and Treasurer for Siena Heights University. He is a native Midwesterner with a history of active involvement in public and private postsecondary education. Prior to his current role, Lee was a senior-level administrator for Lawrence Technological University and the Medical College of Ohio (now the Health Sciences Center of the University of Toledo) and has held a number of faculty appointments.

Dr. Johnson received his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Minor in Law from The University of Toledo, Masters of Business Administration concentrating in Economics from Bowling Green State University, and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration majoring in Finance from The Ohio State University. He completed post-graduate education at Harvard University and The Ohio State University. A Certified Public Accountant, member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio and Michigan Societies for CPAs.

A respected Peer Reviewer and Team Chair for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), he also served the Institutional Actions Council and Mentored new Peer Reviewers and Team Chairs. Lee served on or chaired over two (2) dozen Institutional Actions Council hearings, in addition to serving as chair or as a member of over 40 institutional visits, including comprehensive, focused, substantive change, advisory, and sanction-related visits. His experiences include reviews of two- and four-year public and private, liberal and professional arts, historically black, tribal, and faith-based institutions. He helped to create the financial review panel, which is responsible for assessing institutions under financial distress. With his contemporary insights and understanding of best practices and good judgments, Lee was often called upon for advice and consultation. Dr. Johnson was elected to HLC’s Board of Trustees effective September 1, 2018.

Lee has a high-quality reputation as a highly effective and personable executive with a strong commitment to higher education. His resourcefulness includes focusing on organizational change, strategy plans, cultivating partnerships, fostering the use of website and social media intelligence, reviewing undergraduate and graduate programs, and improving institutional effectiveness. He has led and participated in a variety of planning processes as well as overseen or assisted in an assortment of comprehensive expansion programs. These experiences have afforded him opportunities to interact with campus communities, to receive valuable advice, to engage differences, to achieve consensus in support of larger purposes, and to look long-term.

Additional experiences include contributing to and supporting cultivation efforts by speaking with donors about the need for scholarship and program support as well as funding for campus improvements, all of which touch the lives of students and the community. Lee has widespread respect for his transparency, integrity, openness, intellectual courage, and sense of humor. His dossier includes a desirable publication and presentation record as well as classroom and online teaching experiences.

In addition to being a Trustee for HLC and serving on the Strategy and Finance Committees, Lee is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Marty University and serves on the Academic Affairs and Finance Committees and is a Past President of the University of Toledo Alumni Association. Lee supports the local community by being Past Chair of the Hospice of Lenawee County Board of Directors and member of the Executive and Development Committees and serving as Chair of the Endowment Committee for First United Methodist Church of Adrian and a public member of Habitat for Humanity of Lenawee County Finance Committee.

Lee is a family man with three adult children and enjoys taking batting practice with Siena’s teams, jogging, skiing, and being a comedian at home.

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