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. He is a Certified Public Accountant, member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio and Michigan Societies of CPAs.

Lee has a reputation as an effective and personable executive with a strong commitment to higher education. His resourcefulness includes focusing on what needs to change, engaging partnerships, fostering website and social media intelligence, assessing programs, and enhancing institutional effectiveness. He has led and participated in various planning processes and overseen or assisted in an assortment of comprehensive expansion programs. These experiences have afforded him opportunities to interact with campus communities, receive valuable advice, engage differences, achieve consensus in support of broader purposes, and gain a long-term perspective.

Additional experiences include assisting with cultivation efforts by speaking with donors about the need for scholarship and program support and funding for campus improvements, all of which touch students and the communities we serve. Lee has widespread respect for transparency and accountability, integrity, openness, courageous and collaborative leadership, and supporting equity for students to succeed in school and beyond. His dossier includes previous presentations and publications, as well as teaching experiences. With his contemporary insights, understanding of best practices, and sound judgments, Lee is often called upon for advice and consultation.

A respected Peer Reviewer and Team Chair for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), he served the Institutional Actions Council, mentored peer reviewers and team chairs, and helped create the financial review panel, which assesses institutions under financial distress. His experiences include accreditation reviews of two- and four-year public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, liberal and professional arts, historically black, tribal, online, specialty, and faith-based institutions. Lee received HLC’s 2018 Outstanding Service Award and, in 2018, was elected to the Board of Trustees, and serves on the strategic planning and finance committees.

In addition to being a Trustee for HLC, Lee is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Marty University and serves on the Academic Affairs and Finance Committees; University of Toledo Alumni Association Board of Trustees (2010–19), President (2017–18); a faculty member for the University of Central Oklahoma’s Educators’ Leadership Academy; and Hub Leader for NACUBO’s Student Success Project (2020–21). Lee serves the local community as Past Chair of the Board of Directors for Hospice of Lenawee County (2017–19) and participates on the Executive and Planned Gifts Committees, Chair of the Endowment Committee for First United Methodist Church of Adrian, and a public member of the Finance Committee for Habitat for Humanity of Lenawee County.

Lee is a family man with three adult children and five grandchildren. He also enjoys taking batting practice with Siena’s Teams, jogging, skiing, and being a “Parrothead” and comedian at home.

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