Apply Today!
Presidential Search2018-12-10T20:30:25+00:00

MWSU SealThe Board of Governors of Missouri Western State University announces the search for the fifth president of the university. On August 24, 2018, Dr. Robert A. Vartabedian, president of Missouri Western, announced his plans to retire at the end of June 2019.

Missouri Western State University is pleased to invite qualified submissions of interest and nominations of candidates to become the next President of this outstanding University.

The President is Missouri Western’s chief executive, reporting to the Board of Governors and working closely with the University Foundation. The next President of Missouri Western will be a transformational leader who builds on the exceptional strengths of the University, including its statewide applied learning mission, strong teaching tradition, rich environment for scholarship, high quality faculty, committed staff, inspirational students, and who will work closely with the supportive community of St. Joseph. The Search Committee anticipates the next President will take office in summer 2019 following appointment by the Board of Governors.

Founded in 1915, Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university located on over 700 acres in St. Joseph, Missouri. Missouri Western provides a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs and offers student-centered, high-quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the art technology. The University serves an enrollment of approximately 6,000 students, 91% of whom are Missouri residents. The student population is almost 50% first-generation college attendees, and more than 25% of the total students are nontraditional. 25% of Missouri Western’s students live in on-campus housing. Employing 203 full-time faculty and 330 full-time staff, Missouri Western also offers courses at facilities in Kansas City and high school/college dual-credit courses with school districts throughout the region.

The 5th President of Missouri Western State University will be a dynamic and inclusive leader who passionately embraces and promotes the University’s statewide mission in applied learning and identity as an open access, comprehensive regional university on the rise. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, a distinguished record of collaboration with various constituencies, and the ability to work effectively with legislators on behalf of the University. The candidate of choice will have a strong academic background and a substantial record of accomplishment at the executive level, demonstrated success in fundraising and external relations, and a Ph.D. or other terminal degree.

Missouri Western State University is committed to the educational, economic, cultural, and social development of the region it serves. The historic city of St. Joseph has a population of approximately 76,000, a metropolitan statistical area of about 127,000, and a favorable location 30 minutes north of Kansas City International Airport and forty-five minutes to downtown Kansas City. Missouri Western is the sixth largest employer in St. Joseph and appreciates the benefits of many effective partnerships with regional business and industry, government agencies, and school districts. The University hosts the Summer Training Camp for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.

A complete presidential leadership profile may be found at  For additional information about Missouri Western State University, visit

The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications immediately and will continue to accept applications and nominations until the position is filled. For full consideration, application materials should be received by January 7, 2019 and include a letter of interest that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the position profile, a curriculum vitae, and five professional references with email addresses and telephone numbers. References will not be contacted without the prior knowledge and approval of candidates. Application materials should be sent electronically (PDF format or Microsoft Word) to All applications and nominations will be handled in confidence.

AGB Search is assisting Missouri Western State University with this very important search. Candidates are encouraged to reach out to the consultants to discuss this opportunity.

Garry W. Owens, Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search
C: (806) 239-3049

Kimberly Templeton, Principal, AGB Search
O: (202) 776-0820
C: (540) 761-9494

Missouri Western is committed to providing a diverse campus environment. Applicants for underrepresented groups are highly encouraged to apply.

Leadership Profile

Leadership Profile
To nominate or to discuss this opportunity, email

Latest News & Updates

Search Advisory Committee

The Missouri Western State University Board of Governors has appointed 23 individuals to the search advisory committee for MWSU’s 5th president.

David Liechti, chair of the Board of Governors, will chair the search advisory committee. Jeanne Daffron, retired Provost, will serve as executive liaison to the search committee and Kim Sigrist, Secretary to the Board of Governors will provide administrative assistance. Other members representing faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors and the community include

  • Debbie Smith, Board of Governors
  • Al Purcell, Board of Governors
  • Paul Granberry, Student, Board of Governors
  • Dr. Jennifer Hegeman, Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics
  • Dr. Mike Cadden, Professor, Department of English and Modern Languages
  • Dr. Mark Mills, Associate Professor, Department of Biology
  • Dr. Dan Shepherd, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Education
  • Austen Hall, Student Government Association President
  • Josh Looney, Director of Athletics
  • Carey McMillian, Associate Vice-President for Financial Planning and Administration
  • Latoya Muhammad, Center for Multicultural Education Director
  • Dr. Bob Willenbrink, Dean, School of Fine Arts
  • Fred Nesslage, Manager of ITS/Networks and PC Support and President of Staff Association
  • Kathy Kelly, Administrative Coordinator, Steven L. Craig School of Business and VP of Staff Association
  • Seth Wright, Attorney, Polsinelli PC
  • Pete Gray, CEO, Gray Manufacturing Company, Inc.
  • Drew Brown, U.S. Army Lt. Col., Retired
  • Todd Meierhoffer, President, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory/ St Joseph Memorial Park Cemetery
  • Bob Wollenman, co-owner and operator of Deluxe Truck Stop
  • Kylee Strough, President, United Way of Greater St. Joseph
  • Charlie Shields, President and Chief Executive Officer, Truman Medical Centers
  • Julee Thompson, Chief Nurse Executive at Mosaic Life Care

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the search committee chair will provide regular updates to the Missouri Western community at critical points of the search. Please check this website periodically to view those updates.

The search committee chair is the sole official spokesperson for the search committee. The chair will provide regular updates to the MWSU community, and will address any questions or concerns from members of the community through the duration of the search process.

The Search Committee is tasked with overseeing the process of the search and bringing the best candidates to the Board of Governors for consideration. They work with the search consultants to develop the presidential profile, review candidates and complete initial interviews with semi-finalists.

As per the confidentiality agreement and charge to the search committee, the search Committee chair is the only person authorized to speak on behalf of the search committee and the search process. Please contact the search committee chair or the search consultants if you have information that will be helpful to them.

The search committee is restricted in the information that they are able to share with the MWSU community or anyone else. The confidential statement that all members have signed requires that they not share any information discussed during search committee meetings and that they not share any information related to candidates, even after the search has closed.

We expect that many of our candidates hold key positions at other institutions, and will only submit an application if confidentiality is guaranteed. Members of the search committee have signed an agreement that secures confidentiality for all discussions and deliberations related to the presidential search.

Members of the MWSU community are encouraged to participate in pre-search activities that focus on seeking broad input to assist in the development of the presidential profile.

When finalist candidates are selected, members of the MWSU community will be strongly encouraged to meet with each of the candidates. In addition to a campus wide forum, candidates will meet with representatives from all key constituent groups during the time of their campus interview. An online feedback form will be distributed to all individuals who have met with the final candidates to ensure that feedback is gathered on each of the final candidates. Feedback from the community will be shared with the search committee as they deliberate on the strengths of and any concerns about each of the final candidates for consideration by the Board of Governors.

Yes, everyone who attends a campus forum or a meeting with the finalists will be sent an online feedback form. Completed forms will be reviewed by the search committee.

We anticipate that our new president will take office in summer 2019 following appointment by the Board of Governors.

The Board of Governors has full responsibility for appointing the new president. Following the on-campus interviews, they will meet to determine which of the finalists will be offered the position and complete any necessary negotiations.

Comments and Feedback

The Presidential Search Committee invites the campus and community to provide input into the search process for Missouri Western’s next President. Please submit a comment using the form below. Thank you!