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Johnston named as NMSU’s strategic chief financial officer

Ruth A. Johnston has been named as New Mexico State University’s new strategic chief financial officer. She most recently served as Vice Chancellor for the University of Washington Bothell Planning and Administration. She will begin her new job at NMSU Sept. 1.


Photo of Ruth Johnston
Ruth A. Johnston has been named as NMSU’s new strategic chief financial officer. She will begin her new job at NMSU Sept. 1.

“NMSU’s leadership team strongly believes in the need to proactively innovate in a systematic, strategic manner that will catapult the entire NMSU system forward,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “We’re excited to begin working with Dr. Johnston on these efforts.”

As strategic chief financial officer, Johnston reports to the NMSU Chancellor and will help set system-wide strategy, define financial objectives of individual entities within the university and drive operational efficiency while creating a climate of accountability. Johnston will also provide innovative and strategic guidance to optimize NMSU’s existing, underutilized and untapped assets including real estate holdings.

“Competing with traditional and non-traditional higher education peers requires NMSU to embrace innovation and act with greater agility,” Arvizu said. “The status quo is not acceptable. The university’s new strategic plan, NMSU LEADS 2025, has brought into focus our strategic goals and objectives. We need to move the organization forward, aligning our resources to give us the best opportunity to succeed. Dr. Johnston will help us to achieve this.”

Johnston currently serves as first vice president on the Western Association of College and University Business Officers board of directors, and has served on the Network of Change and Continuous Improvement board. She teaches a variety of classes and workshops, and consults with higher education institutions and associations and some federal agencies.

Having spent most of her career at the University of Washington, she has direct experience in areas including housing, food services, continuing education, human resources, financial management, finance and facilities, government and community relations and student fiscal services.

She has a Ph.D. in organization development and higher education from the Union Institute. She also holds a master’s degree in human relations from Pacific Lutheran University and a bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology/social sciences from the University of Redlands.