Marlene Johnson

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Marlene Johnson
42nd Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 7, 1991
Governor Rudy Perpich
Preceded by Lou Wangberg
Succeeded by Joanell Dyrstad
Personal details
Born (1946-01-11) January 11, 1946 (age 73)
Braham, Minnesota
Political party Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Profession advertising and public relations

Marlene Johnson (born January 11, 1946) was the 42nd Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota and the first woman to hold that office. She was elected as the running mate of Governor Rudy Perpich, and held the position from 1983 to 1991.

Marlene Johnson was born and raised in Braham, Minnesota.

Lieutenant governor and aftermath

As lieutenant governor, Johnson focused on strengthening and expanding the state’s connections with the rest of the world – in trade, tourism, education, and the arts. She was a particularly outspoken advocate of international educational exchange at the secondary and post-secondary level. She was also awarded the Royal Order of the Polar Star by the Kingdom of Sweden in 1988.[1]

After leaving office in 1993, Johnson ran for mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, but lost to Norm Coleman in the primary election. Later that year, she was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton to serve as associate administrator for management services and human resources in the General Services Administration.

NAFSA executive director and world community involvement

Johnson currently lives in Washington, D.C. and serves as the Executive Director of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. NAFSA’s nearly 10,000 members worldwide enable international education opportunities for thousands of students each year. The association also works to increase awareness of and support for international education and exchange in higher education, government, and the community, with the belief that citizens with international experience and global awareness are crucial to U.S. leadership, competitiveness, and security. Under Johnson’s leadership, NAFSA has become the leading advocate on behalf of international education, actively participating in the public and policy debates that impact the field and emerging as a respected voice in support of educational exchanges as a key tool of U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy.[1]

Johnson serves on the Board of the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC, the Advisory Council of the US-China Education Trust, the Senior Advisory Council of Business for Diplomatic Action, and the Advisory Board of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership at St Mary’s College -University of Notre Dame. She is a former Board member of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, AFS-USA, AFS Intercultural Programs, the World Press Institute and the National Association of Women Business Owners.[1]


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Lou Wangberg
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Joanell Dyrstad