When he served as speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives between 1990 and 1996, Glen Johnson managed to keep the peace among 101 legislators all fighting for their district's piece of the appropriations pie.

As chancellor of the State Regents for Higher Education, surely he can ride shotgun over the state's 25 public colleges and universities and their 240,000 students.

The 52-year-old president of Southeastern State University in Durant was the unanimous pick of the state Regents last week. There were 12 candidates and six were interviewed for the post.

As chancellor, Mr. Johnson's first duty will be to convince legislators that state colleges and universities really need $1.19 billion to operate for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. That's a $171 million increase over the current appropriations.

His appointment reflects the reality of the position. Presidents and faculty members can run their institutions but they need a strong advocate at the state legislative level.

Like the previous chancellor Paul Risser who was on the OU faculty, Mr. Johnson is no stranger to Norman or the University of Oklahoma. He has an undergraduate degree and law degree from OU and served in the legislature from 1982 to 1996.

Before he became president of Southeastern, he served as director of public policy and professor of law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

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