May 10, 2022

Board of Trustees announces Dr. Brad Johnson as new president of College of the Ozarks, effective June 1, 2022


POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — The Board of Trustees has announced that Dr. Brad Johnson, former interim president of Southwest Baptist University, will lead College of the Ozarks as its next president. Johnson’s term begins June 1, 2022.

“The C of O Board of Trustees welcomes Dr. and Mrs. Brad Johnson to Hard Work U.,” said Shawn McKenzie, chairman of the board. “As president, we know Dr. Johnson will continue to carry out the important mission of College of the Ozarks.”

Johnson has served since 2012 as the vice president for institutional advancement at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. He also recently served as interim president at the institution. In this role, he worked with the board to revise key institutional policies, engaged the board in discussion with the faculty of SBU, facilitated board training and restructuring, launched four new academic programs including agriculture, cybersecurity management, and global education for both elementary and middle school levels, developed a variety of new partnerships, and managed day-to-day operations of this multi-site institution.

Johnson’s wife, Laura Lacey Johnson, is the author of several Bible studies, including her newest, 10-Second Prayers to Transform Your Life: From the Parables of Jesus. 

“Laura and I are grateful to God for this wonderful opportunity and are delighted to join the C of O family and roll up our sleeves at Hard Work U.,” Johnson said. “I am deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees for their confidence in me and am extraordinarily thankful to Dr. Davis for his leadership and immeasurable legacy at this outstanding institution. Laura and I fell in love with the faculty, staff, and students and look forward to working together to celebrate the rich heritage and bright future of the College.”

College of the Ozarks President of 34 years, Dr. Jerry C. Davis, will move to the role of chancellor, effective June 1. In this role, he will continue to build upon his three decades of fund-raising efforts on behalf of the College.

More about Dr. and Mrs. Brad Johnson

Before serving at SBU, Johnson served in administrative roles at McMurry University, Hardin-Simmons University, and Howard Payne University, all in Texas. These roles include vice president for enrollment and student services and director of financial aid and scholarships.

Johnson is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. He has raised more than $57 million in cash gifts and managed more than $41 million in estate gifts for SBU and Howard Payne University.

Johnson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education from Baylor University in 1993. In 1996, he earned two master’s degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas: one in religious education and one in marriage and family counseling. He completed his Doctor of Education degree at Baylor University in 2005, with a focus on higher education administration.

Laura Lacey Johnson, a commissioned fellow for the Colson Center for Christian worldview, shares her messages on Christian radio stations and social media outlets. She is a graduate of Howard Payne University and earned a Master of Arts in communication from Abilene Christian University. She worked as a radio personality and television news reporter in Texas.

Dr. and Mrs. Johnson have two children, Evan and Elle.