Karen Johnson, Secretary of Higher Education, Maryland Higher Education Commission
Karen Johnson, political science ’85 and the recipient of this year’s UMBC Outstanding Alumna Award, is Secretary of Higher Education for the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
As one of the youngest members of Governor Parris Glendening’s cabinet, Johnson is a key figure in ongoing efforts to preserve the quality of higher education in Maryland, overseeing more than 30 public and private colleges and universities, 20 community colleges and 100 private career schools in the state.
For Johnson, one of UMBC’s strengths was its size. “It’s not too big and not too small,” she says. “The faculty here are very connected to the students and really take an interest in their development. Students should take advantage of the faculty and everything campus has to offer and try to build relationships for the future,” she says. “When I was at UMBC, I learned from other students as much as I did from sitting in a lecture hall.”