UM Board of Curators appoints Michael Middleton as interim president of the University of Missouri System
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Board also votes to delegate authority to MU Interim Chancellor
COLUMBIA – The University of Missouri Board of Curators today announced the appointment of former University of Missouri-Columbia Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton as interim president of the University of Missouri System, effective immediately.
“Mike Middleton is the best person to lead the system during this critical period of transition, with 30 years of leadership experience on the MU campus and past service as a civil rights attorney,” said Donald Cupps, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. “Mike’s outstanding managerial skills and knowledge of the UM System and its four campuses, make him the leader we need to advance our university system forward.”
Beginning his tenure at MU as a law professor in 1985, Middleton retired as deputy chancellor on August 31 of this year after serving in the role for 17 years. At the time of his appointment as interim president, he was serving in a part-time capacity at MU, directing efforts to improve inclusion, diversity and equity within campus activities.
“I am honored to accept the appointment as interim president of the UM System, and lead our state’s premiere university during this extraordinary time,” Middleton said. “The time has come for us to acknowledge and address our daunting challenges, and return to our relentless adherence to the University of Missouri’s mission to discover, disseminate, preserve and apply knowledge.”
“I am looking forward to working closely with the leadership on our four campuses, and Missouri’s state leaders, to move this great university forward,” he said.
A 1968 graduate of MU, Middleton was the third African-American graduate student to graduate from the MU Law School. He pursued a career in civil rights law in Washington, D.C., working as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He later worked as director of the Office of Systemic Programs at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and then as principal deputy assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. He was director of the St. Louis district office of EEOC before returning to MU in 1985.
In addition, today the board accelerated the transition of authority from MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to Interim Chancellor Hank Foley, giving Foley the responsibilities of the MU Office of Chancellor effective immediately.
"Our priorities have been to keep our campus community informed and safe, and to make sure students, faculty and staff are aware of the many resources available to them in terms of counseling, mental health services and other support," Foley said. “I am looking forward to working with Interim President Middleton and the other system chancellors to continue to forward progress at the University of Missouri.”
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