Peggy L. Johnson

Honorary Degrees

San Diego State University

Peggy L. Johnson is recognized nationally for her leadership in the fields of engineering and business, and has committed thousands of hours in service to the training and creation of opportunities for the next generation of female CEOs and engineers. 

Mrs. Johnson received her bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University in 1985. She worked for General Electric's Military Electronics Division and then joined Qualcomm for 24 years where she assumed various leadership positions across engineering and business divisions. As president of Global Markets, Mrs. Johnson was integral in the development and adoption of wireless broadband technology and oversaw Qualcomm Labs,  the innovation incubator which launched new businesses and products internationally. She also served as a member of the Executive Committee and led Qualcomm's Internet Services business — laying the foundation to access data and applications on our mobile phones.  She became the executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft in 2014  

Since 2020, she has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Magic Leap. Often the only woman or the first woman in her various roles, Mrs. Johnson has carved out a path of billion-dollar success stories with a well-publicized legacy of business and technical advances across the tech industry. 

Mrs. Johnson is also actively engaged in the community, especially in service to students. She has served on the SDSU National Leadership Council and the Aztec Club, and she has spoken frequently to the students of the College of Engineering — especially to aspiring women engineers. She and her husband have donated to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in support of scholarship, research and an endowed professorship. Her success in engineering and business is a shining model for a generation of students, especially women and minority students. Mrs. Johnson's commitment to helping women and underrepresented groups is noteworthy, and she has given over the past two decades to student scholarships as well as faculty research. She is specifically interested in women in engineering efforts and helped to form a partnership between Microsoft and Backstage Capital to invest in female, LGBT and person of color founders. The collaboration has produced more than two dozen graduates in executive leadership positions.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Johnson has received numerous awards including being named Business Insider's “#1 Most Powerful Female Engineer in 2017", Silicon Republic's “40 Powerful Women Leading Tech Around the World", Connected World Magazine's “2014 Women of M2M List", Women in Technology International “2013 Hall of Fame Award" and STEM “100 Women Leaders in STEM 2012″. Her accomplishments and involvement in SDSU have also earned her the SDSU Monty's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 and Tower Society in 2012.

She currently serves on the board of directors for BlackRock, as an advisory board member for the Huntington's Disease Society of America and has served on the board of directors for Live Nation.

In recognition of her personal and corporate support to students and aspiring female leaders, and her success in engineering and business, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Diego State University are proud to confer upon Peggy L. Johnson the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.