Larry Johnson

2020-21 Aspen New Presidents Fellow
Dr. Larry D. Johnson Jr. is an equity-minded student advocate with more than 15 years of community college experience. In July 2018, he was appointed the sixth president of Phoenix College and the first African American in its 100-year history. As president, he launched the President’s Promise, a comprehensive plan to reengage community and workforce leaders; improve employee satisfaction and engagement; implement best practices that will lead to an increase in student persistence, retention, and completion; and cultivate an environment that embraces diverse perspectives.

Prior to his appointment, Johnson served as campus provost and chief academic officer at St. Louis Community College’s Forest Park Campus. He was instrumental in implementing early college programs, in collaboration with St. Louis area public school leaders, and increasing access and success for men of color. Before his tenure at St. Louis, he served in numerous positions, including associate dean of English and journalism, department chair of general students and developmental education, and faculty member and student concerns officer.

Johnson is actively engaged in educational and civic communities through his participation and service on several boards and commissions. He now serves on the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on College Readiness and the boards of the Greater Phoenix Urban League, Helping Hands for Single Moms, and Arizona Center for Youth Resources. He is involved in a number of other organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona.

Johnson earned his B.A. in English literature from Florida A&M University, and an M.A. in humanities with an emphasis in medieval to baroque studies and a graduate certificate in institutional research from Florida State University. He earned a doctor of arts degree from Clark Atlanta University in humanities with a focus in English literature.