Feb. 25, 2021–The Missouri Western State University Board of Governors voted unanimously on Thursday, Feb. 25, to name Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy Missouri Western’s sixth president.
“I and other members of the Board have been very impressed with Dr. Kennedy’s capable and steady leadership during this very challenging time,” said Lee Tieman, Board of Governors chair. “Our Board received substantial input from students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community regarding adding stability and direction to the leadership of the University. We believe this is a tremendous step forward in addressing those objectives. While considering all options available to lead this outstanding institution, we came to the unanimous conclusion that the best leader for us already occupied the position.”
Dr. Kennedy, formerly Missouri Western’s vice provost, has been serving as interim president since Aug. 3, 2020.
“Missouri Western is moving forward with sure direction and clear purpose, and I’m honored and humbled to be a part of that,” Dr. Kennedy said. “I believe there is much hope in the future of Missouri Western, and I am very confident and excited about what that will mean for us.”
A welcome and celebration event will be planned in the future, when COVID-19 conditions permit large gatherings. Tieman and Dr. Kennedy will meet with the media at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26. The news conference will be streamed live at griff.vn/pressconf.
In her time as interim president, Dr. Kennedy has provided the necessary leadership to navigate MW through the current pandemic. She has directed launching of several of the University’s new initiatives such as esports and Gold Fridays and expanded others including the Center for Service. Dr. Kennedy has demonstrated a keen ability to connect with faculty, staff, and students and is deeply committed to the mission of Missouri Western for our campus, our community, and our region.
Dr. Kennedy became Missouri Western’s vice provost in January, 2020, after being selected through a nationwide search. In that role, she focused on a number of elements of Missouri Western’s strategic plan, Pathways to Excellence, including strengthening student success, creating new partnerships and expanding applied learning.
Before coming to Missouri Western, Dr. Kennedy was dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology and interim dean of the College of Health Professions at the University of Akron. She had been at the University of Akron since 1997, beginning as an assistant professor of social science. Her administrative experience began as a department chair in 2002. She became associate dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology in 2014, becoming dean in 2016. In that role, she established several key partnerships with industry and other educational institutions. She added leadership of the College of Health Professions in 2017.
Dr. Kennedy grew up in Kansas City, graduated from Ruskin High School and has family in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Arts in Psychology, Graduate Certificate in Gerontology and Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, Applied Cognitive Aging, all from the University of Akron.
Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. 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 www.missouriwestern.edu.