Meet Our President

Johnson to serve as VU interim president beginning Aug. 1

VINCENNES, Ind. - Charles R. “Chuck” Johnson was selected to serve as interim president of Vincennes University following the retirement of VU President Dick Helton on July 31.  Johnson has served as provost/vice president of Instructional Services/dean of faculty at VU since August 2012.

Helton announced his retirement plans on May 27.  Helton is the longest serving president of Indiana’s public institutions for higher education.  With Helton’s arrival in 2004, VU has experienced historic growth with system-wide headcount enrollment last fall surpassing 19,000 students, marking eight years of continuous growth.

“The most important things I will be working on and looking forward to are building on the legacy of Dr. Helton, working with the great people at VU, and keeping our momentum by focusing on growth, success, and quality,” Johnson said.

In Johnson’s current role he is VU’s chief academic officer, overseeing the academic and student affairs areas of the University.

“Chuck has brought a passion for VU.  I know that he, together with our vice presidents, will provide wonderful leadership for this institution.  They work well as a group and are fun to be around at our Monday meetings.  I believe we have a great team here.  I have enjoyed working with them and look forward to seeing the institution move forward under their leadership,” Helton said.

Johnson has been engaged in several growth initiatives, including the expansion of VU’s Early College movement and the launch of its Early Colleges in Career centers, the development of three work-based learning programs:  the AMT program in Southwestern Indiana with Toyota; the CAP program at VU Jasper Campus, with seven leading Dubois County employers; and the AIM program, launched in partnership with Subaru of Indiana Automotive and Purdue University and now including three other Lafayette area employers.

Johnson has also overseen the creation of VU’s Student Success Center, focusing on improving student retention and graduation.  He has been instrumental in VU’s expanded articulations with Purdue Engineering, as well as the recently announced VU partnership that will bring Purdue Engineering B.S. programs to Southwestern and South Central Indiana.

A native of Washington, Indiana, Johnson came to VU from Purdue University, West Lafayette, where he served for over 14 years overseeing internationally ranked master’s and executive education programs for the Krannert School of Management.  While at Purdue he also served as a consultant to a start-up institution of higher education in Kuwait, the American University of the Middle East.  He later served as a member of its Board of Advisors.

Prior to joining Purdue, he worked in training and development and human resources for National City Bank in Toledo, Ohio, and in a variety of student and academic affairs and instructional positions for over 11 years at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Johnson graduated from Washington Catholic High School prior to earning his B.S. in economics from Indiana State University.  He holds an MBA from Bowling Green State University and has completed all requirements to receive his Ph.D. in higher education administration at Purdue University, West Lafayette, in August, 2015.

Johnson’s wife, Sarah Guerrettaz, is a Vincennes native, Rivet High School graduate, and VU alumna.  They are the parents of two daughters.

President Johnson may be contacted at

View the 2015 State of the University Address