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Remembering Susan Whealler Johnston


Susan Whealler Johnston, Ph.D., passed away on August 12 after a courageous fight with cancer.

Johnston served as president and CEO of the National Association of College and University Business Officers since August 2018 and was its first female leader. Leading with grace and gratitude, Johnston transformed the association in many ways. Her compassionate leadership, which emphasized student success and inclusion for all, will leave a lasting impact on NACUBO and the business officer profession. 

Johnston dedicated her career to higher education. She first was a professor of English and dean of academic development at Rockford University in Illinois, and later served as associate dean at Regent’s College in London. Before coming to NACUBO, she was an executive at the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities.

Johnston was the chair of the Board of Trustees of Rollins College and on the Board of Visitors of Radford University, the Board of Trustees for the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, and the advisory committee of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), among other appointments.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Joe, and will be remembered fondly by her colleagues. In her memory, NACUBO is collecting notes about Susan’s impact for a tribute on our website. To have your message included, please email


Katy McCreary

Director, Public Relations