Michael D. Johnson, dean of the School of Hotel Administration, will leave Cornell for a provost position at Babson College in Massachusetts in a move “totally unrelated to the formation of the new Cornell College of Business,” he said.
Johnson will depart Cornell this July as his second five-year term as dean draws to a close, according to a University press release.
“Deans, provosts and presidents at Cornell serve two five-year terms, and this is year 10 for me,” Johnson said. “I told the SHA community last spring that this would be my final year at Cornell, long before I knew there would be a CCB.”
Johnson said his time at Cornell has been “a gift,” calling his term as Hotel School dean “10 of the best years” of his career.
“My wife and I are the proud parents of three Cornellians — Alex ’12, Andrew ’15 and Thomas ’19,” Johnson said. “Foremost I am proud of the fact that, working with the students, faculty, staff and alumni, we took a school that was the best of its kind and made it even better.”
Johnson added that he will miss the hotel students the most after his departure.
“They make you laugh, and they can make you cry, but most of all they make you proud,” he said. “As leaders and entrepreneurs, they graduate and go on to lead and reinvent our industry and make positive contributions to our society. As alumni, SHA students become hotelies for life.”
Johnson said the provost position at Babson College “caught [his] attention immediately” when he was searching for a new position.
“Babson had been on my radar screen for some time as it shares many of the same qualities as SHA,” he said. “Just as SHA is the number one school of its kind in hospitality, Babson is the number one institution of its kind in entrepreneurship education.”
Johnson expressed excitement about his future at Babson but also said he hopes to see Cornell and the Hotel School prosper in the years to come.
Although he refers to Cornell and the Hotel School as “a special place with special people,” Johnson said he looks forward to joining the Babson community.
“I think the future is incredibly bright,” he said. “My goal will be to work with the rest of the Babson community to take a great institution and make it an even better place.”
In addition to his role as dean, Johnson also teaches several courses at the Hotel School, according to the University.
Prof. Kathryn LaTour, hotel administration, said that as a marketing researcher, Johnson has helped the school become more research focused.
“He has done a great job hiring new faculty with his global reach in fundraising,” LaTour said. “He has been a great asset to the school and will be missed.”
The search for a new dean will be carried out by Provost Michael Kotlikoff and Dean Soumitra Dutta, according to Al Gonzalez, executive director of marketing and communications for the SHA.
There is no information yet about potential candidates, according to Gonzalez.