Search enters home stretch for new University president

The search committee for a new president at Missouri Western State University has narrowed the list of candidates to a group of finalists at a meeting Monday night.

Posted: Feb 4, 2019 6:58 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2019 10:44 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The search committee for a new president at Missouri Western State University has narrowed the list of candidates to a group of finalists at a meeting Monday night.

The university has been seeking a replacement for Dr. Robert A. Vartabedian, who announced his plans to retire July 2019. Vartabedian has served as Missouri Western’s president since July 2008. He announced his retirement last summer, to give the University a full year to find a successor.

The Process
David Liechti, chair of the Board of Governors, has been leading a team of 23 people as they search for MWSU’s 5th president. The search advisory committee hired a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, to help guide the process. Dr. Garry Owens and Kimberly Templeton, executive search associates with AGB Search, met with students, staff and community members last November, to find out what people wanted to see in the next president.

The firm used that information to create a leadership profile the University could use to attract candidates and as an outline to judge candidates. This set of criteria includes champion diversity and inclusion, increase enrollment and fundraising.

The leadership profile includes a long list of what we are looking for in our next president, Leichti said. 

The Candidates

The original pool of 70 potential candidates has been narrowed to the best 15 individuals, Leichti said. MWSU advisory search committee came together Monday at Spratt Stadium to go over that list of 15 and whittled it down to 10.

Once the finalists are selected, candidates will visit campus and speak with faculty, students and community members. Following the visits, the search committee will present feedback to the Board of Governors, who will make the final selection.

The Search Committee

Here’s the full list of 23 people appointed by the Board of Governors to assist in the University’s search:

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

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