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Missouri Western names fifth president

Matthew Wilson is named Missouri Western State University's fifth president. It was an unanimous vote by the university's Board of Governors on Tuesday.

Posted: Mar 13, 2019 3:24 PM
Updated: Mar 13, 2019 7:43 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Matthew Wilson is named Missouri Western State University's fifth president.

It was an unanimous vote by the university's Board of Governors on Tuesday.

“With a long track record in higher education, including previous experience as a university president, Matt Wilson is prepared to serve Missouri Western well,” said David Liechti, chair of the Board of Governors. "We appreciated his strong commitment to student success and his innovative and creative approach to problem-solving. Under his leadership, Missouri Western will continue to be a crucial part of the economic and cultural vitality of our region.”

“I look forward to serving and working closely with outstanding MWSU faculty, students, staff and alumni as well as members of the St. Joseph community. Building on the solid foundation established by Dr. Vartabedian and others," said Wilson.

Wilson is currently a professor of law the University of Akron School of Law. He previously served as the university's president from 2016 to 2018. During his presidency, he lead the university to a two-year budgetary turnaround, eliminating a projected $30 million deficit and adding $12 million to reserves.  Wilson also participated in fund-raising efforts that saw a substantial increase in donations including a $20 million  student scholarship campaign and the largest single gift in university history. He also oversaw numerous innovative approaches to student recruitment, retention and internationalization. Before serving as president, Wilson was dean of the University of Akron School of Law. During his tenure he saw a 40 percent increase in new student enrollment over two years.

Before his time at University of Akron, Wilson served as professor of law, associate dean of academic affairs and associate dean for student affairs for the University of Wyoming College of Law from 2009-2014. From 2011-2014, he concurrently served as an international scholar at Kyung Hee University Law School. Wilson began his academic career in 2003 at Temple University's Japan Campus serving first as law program director and associate professor of law, and then as general counsel, associate dean and senior associate dean. Wilson began his legal career as an associate at Akerman Senterfitt P.A. in Orlando, Florida. He then served as general counsel for Telecommunication Network, Inc. before returning to Akerman as a senior associate. Wilson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.S. in Political Science and a B.A. in Asian Studies and holds a J.D from Temple University School of Law.

Wilson will succeed Dr. Robert Vartabedian, who will retire July 1 after 11 years as Missouri Western’s president.

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