Artist rendering of Vartabedian Hall lettering

June 18, 2019—Griffon Hall at Missouri Western State University will be renamed Vartabedian Hall. Missouri Western’s Board of Governors approved naming the residence hall in honor of Drs. Robert and Laurel Vartabedian. Dr. Robert Vartabedian will retire this month after 11 years as president.

“Getting to know Dr. Vartabedian in the five years I’ve been on the board has been a real blessing for me,” said David Liechti, chair of the Board of Governors. “He and Laurel have been very engaged in the community, and I think they’ve made a great team. I know all of the board members join me in thanking them both, and I’m pleased we could honor them in this way.”

Vartabedian Hall was one of the significant construction projects on campus during Dr. Vartabedian’s tenure as president, opening to students in 2011. It is Missouri Western’s only apartment-style residence hall, housing 240 students. Each suite houses four students in four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a shared living area with a couch and bar stools.

Vartabedian Hall will be the fourth campus building named for a former Missouri Western president:

  • The Looney Complex, home of athletic and recreational facilities including the arena and the Thomas Eagleton Indoor Pool, is named for Dr. Marvin Looney (1967-1983), who served as the first president in Missouri Western’s history as a four-year institution
  • Murphy Hall, home of the School of Nursing and Health Professions and several other academic departments, is named for Dr. Janet Gorman Murphy (1983-2000)
  • Scanlon Hall, a 400-bed residence hall that serves as the lodgings for the Kansas City Chiefs when they hold summer training camp at Missouri Western each July and August, is named for Dr. James and Lauren Scanlon (2000-2008)

The board also honored Dr. Vartabedian with the title of “president emeritus” and presented him with a wooden office chair engraved with his name, years of service and the University Seal. “We looked at a rocking chair, but we didn’t think that would be fitting, not yet,” Liechti said.

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