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Johnson Leaving University Center, Search Begins for New Executive Director

Photo of Craig Johnson. Craig Johnson, executive director of University Center-Sioux Falls, will leave in June to become president at Ridgewater College.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Craig Johnson, executive director of University Center-Sioux Falls, will leave in June to become president at Ridgewater College, a public two-year community and technical college with campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson, Minnesota.

“In his four years at University Center Craig has helped fine-tune offerings to meet the career education needs of students in the state’s largest metropolitan area,” said James W. Abbott, president of the University of South Dakota, which provides administrative oversight for UC. “We are grateful for his contributions, and we wish him great success in his new role.”

Johnson will continue at UC until June 21, and an extensive search will be conducted for his replacement. He will assume his new role at Ridgewater on July 1.

Johnson is a native of Wisconsin and has more than 30 years of experience in higher education that includes administrative, academic staff and faculty positions. He has held the executive director role at University Center since 2014, where he led a strategic planning project that expanded the Center to include a community college focus. He helped develop new program articulations and joint marketing efforts, and he increased community engagement.

Before joining University Center-Sioux Falls Johnson served as director of the branch campus of Winona State University in Rochester from 2007-2014. He was the administrator of the West Bend campus of Moraine Park Technical College in Wisconsin from 2000-2007, and was resource curator for the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture for the University of Minnesota.

Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a master’s from Tulane University and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota.


Officially called South Dakota Public Universities and Research Center, the center is a face-to-face course delivery and research location, providing area residents local access to the state’s public university system. UC-Sioux Falls emphasizes non-traditional and adult learners and works with the Sioux Falls community toward economic development, life-long learning and professional development.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News