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Presidential Search2018-10-10T21:19:36+00:00

The 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 2018.

President Vartabedian became Missouri Western’s fourth president on July 1, 2008, and he is the longest-tenured current president among public universities in Missouri.

The Board of Governors have appointed a search committee to assist with the search and will work with a search firm to complete the selection of the next president for Missouri Western.


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.