The University of Missouri’s Board of Curators has named Michael Middleton, a recently retired senior administrator at the school, as the university system’s interim president.
“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,” Donald Cupps, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, said in a statement. “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.”
Middleton, 68, who is black and had most recently served as deputy chancellor at the university before his retirement in August, takes over from Tim Wolfe, who resigned Monday amid student protests over his handling of racist incidents on campus.
“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 in the statement. “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.”
According to Middleton’s university bio page, he joined the faculty at Missouri in 1985 as a law professor and held a number of position over the next 30 years. Before accepting the role as interim president, he was deputy chancellor emeritus. The bio also shows that he attended University of Missouri for both his undergraduate studies and for law school.
The Associated Press reports that Middleton had been working with Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who also announced his plans to resign on Monday, to design a plan to increase inclusion and diversity on campus.