Mike Middleton saw interim president job as calming UM’s troubled waters

After a series of racially charged incidents thrust the University of Missouri Columbia into the national spotlight in fall 2015, then-University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned and the UM System Board of Curators went to Mike Middleton and asked if he would come out of retirement and step in as interim president.

He agreed.

Fifteen months later, the interim is over. Mun Choi, former provost from the University of Connecticut, takes the reins of the UM System on Wednesday.

Looking back over his presidency, Middleton sees clear marks of progress toward his goal at the beginning of his term: creating a long-term plan to address issues of diversity on campus.

Each of the four campuses now has a diversity, equity and inclusion office, which reports to its respective chancellor; the MU Counseling Center has hired two psychologists of color; and last May, Middleton launched an independent audit of the system’s diversity and inclusion policies.

Going forward, Middleton is worried about money. Years of state funding cuts and recent withholdings from former Gov. Jay Nixon and Gov. Eric Greitens have forced the UM System to find additional revenue, a responsibility that falls to Choi beginning Wednesday.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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