(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) —Dr. Robert A. Vartabedian, president of Missouri Western State University, has announced his plans to retire effective July 1, 2019. David Liechti, chairman of Missouri Western’s Board of Governors, said that Dr. Vartabedian informed the Board of his plans during a closed session yesterday, and he announced his intentions to campus in an e-mail this morning.
“I have been truly honored to serve as Missouri Western’s president for over a decade,” Dr. Vartabedian said. “These have been by far the most gratifying years of my long career in higher education. For a first-generation college student like myself to have this kind of capstone career opportunity was a dream come true for me.”
Dr. Vartabedian and his wife, Dr. Laurel Vartabedian, plan to spend more time with family, including their children and grandchildren in Texas. He announced his retirement nearly a year early to give the University time to find a successor.
“Bob and Laurel’s contributions to Missouri Western and the St. Joseph area will be felt for many years to come,” Liechti said. “Bob is a great leader and tireless worker with a vision and commitment to advance the University. Both he and Laurel have immersed themselves in the community and been great ambassadors for Missouri Western. The bar is set very high for whoever follows.”
The Board of Governors immediately began discussions about the search process, Liechti said. “Hiring a president is the Board’s most important job, and we want to move quickly and effectively to find the right person,” Liechti said.
Dr. 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 campus has grown in a number of ways under his leadership, but he is quick to credit others.