Starbucks CEO shares lessons with students,

When Kevin Johnson ’81 arrived at NMSU in May to receive an honorary doctorate at commencement, he had a much different perspective than when he walked onto campus for the first time as a freshman in 1978.

The chief executive officer of Starbucks, Johnson has been on quite the journey since graduating from NMSU with his Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration with a major in business systems. 

“It was at NMSU where I discovered a passion for technology and business, which became my career,” Johnson says. 

His passion for software led him into a career that included IBM, Microsoft and serving as chief executive office of Juniper Networks. Johnson served on the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. 

After a successful career in technology, Johnson joined Starbucks in 2009 as a member of its board of directors. In March 2015, he became president and chief operating officer and assumed the role of CEO in April of this year. 

Through the years, Johnson and his wife, June – also an NMSU graduate – have generously supported NMSU’s Arrowhead Center and the College of Business. 

“My experience at NMSU taught me the importance of helping others, which June and I have carried forward throughout our lives,” Johnson says. 

He visited NMSU’s Arrowhead Center in May, where he spoke to students and faculty about the importance of leadership, human connection, storytelling and life-long learning. 

Kristie Garcia ’07 

LEFT: Starbucks CEO and New Mexico State University alumnus Kevin Johnson returned to NMSU to receive an honorary doctoral degree and visited with students, faculty and staff of Arrowhead Center and the NMSU College of Business in May. RIGHT: Johnson greets NMSU alumna and Starbucks store manager Jessica Lyn Robles during his visit to Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub.