The University of Missouri Board of Curators’ choice for an interim president for the UM System is being praised by the state’s elected Democrats.
Governor Jay Nixon calls Mike Middleton, “an accomplished and widely-respected leader who is deeply committed to the university and its students.”
Nixon wrote, “With interim leadership in place, I urge the Board of Curators to select a permanent president through a process that is thoughtful, transparent, inclusive, and efficient. I look forward to working with President Middleton and his permanent successor to continue to improve higher education for the benefit of all Missouri students.”
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill notes Middleton, “has been in significant leadership positions at the University for more than 30 years, and is something that we all know and trust.”
The University also said Hank Foley will begin serving as Chancellor immediately. McCaskill writes, “Combined with the perspective that Hank Foley brings in terms of innovation and research, these changes represent real leadership with the vision to move the University forward, and should come with the support of leaders across Missouri to help make that happen. Now is the time for everyone in the University community to come together and support this strong leadership team.”
Attorney General Chris Koster also applauded the selection of Middleton.
“I have known Mike for twenty-five years, from his days teaching me criminal procedure in law school through his service as deputy chancellor emeritus of the Columbia campus,” wrote Koster. “His decades of leadership and familiarity with the University and its student body make him an outstanding choice to guide the institution through this period.”
Middleton was announced this afternoon as the UM System’s interim president. He will serve in that role until a permanent replacement for Tim Wolfe is found. Wolfe resigned Monday in response to criticism over the handling of incidents of racism on campus, and after calls for his resignation by students, state lawmakers, and the MU football team. That included a hunger strike by one student who said his strike would end with Wolfe’s resignation or his own death.
Middleton came to MU as a law processor in 1985 and retired as deputy chancellor August 31 after serving 17 years in that role. He had been serving in a part-time capacity at the university, directing efforts to improve inclusion, diversity, and equity within campus activities.