The Board of Governors at Missouri Western State University has approved a new three-year contract for Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president. The new contract runs through June 30, 2019, replacing a five-year contract that was set to expire in 2018.

“The board is very happy with Dr. Vartabedian’s performance,” said Brig. Gen. Gregory Mason, chair of the Board of Governors. “He has led Missouri Western through some challenging times, and we’re pleased that he will continue to provide that leadership for years to come.”

“I greatly appreciate the board’s faith in me,” said Dr. Vartabedian. “However, their support more importantly reflects a strong endorsement of the very hard work of our faculty, staff and administrative team. They truly provided the sweat equity for any and all of the accomplishments we have experienced in the past nine years.”

Dr. Vartabedian became president of Missouri Western in July, 2008. Under his leadership, the university has, among many other accomplishments:

  • received uniformly positive academic accreditation outcomes
  • significantly increased international, graduate and distance education
  • partnered with the City of St. Joseph, Buchanan County, the St. Joseph School District and other partners on key initiatives including the Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp, the Thomas Eagleton Indoor Swimming Pool, the Walter Cronkite Memorial and others
  • completed several major construction projects, including Remington and Agenstein Halls, the Spring Sports Complex, the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex, Griffon Hall, Spratt Stadium and more
  • supported business growth through the Applied Entrepreneurship program, the Center for Entrepreneurship, and other programs of the Craig School of Business
  • created the School of Fine Arts and the School of Nursing and Health Professions
  • created many new high-demand academic programs, including a Master’s of Business Administration, the first-of-its-kind population health degree, and the debate-forensics program
  • celebrated Missouri Western’s centennial, including the successful Centennial Capital Campaign and campus enhancements like the new sculpture at the Downs Drive entrance and gold accents to the Glenn E. Marion Clock Tower

“I am honored that the Board of Governors has placed this confidence in me,” Dr. Vartabedian said. “It is a pleasure to work with them, and with our students, faculty, staff and community in making Missouri Western a continued success.”

Under terms of the contract, Dr. Vartabedian will be paid $255,593.37 annually. He is the longest serving president among all public universities in Missouri. When the Board of Governors approved Dr. Vartabedian’s previous contract they included a market adjustment to make the president’s salary more competitive with presidents at other regional universities in Missouri. President Vartabedian and Dr. Laurel Vartabedian donated the net increase in salary back to the Missouri Western State University Foundation, and to date have given more than $132,000 to the University.

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit