Amid heightened racial tension at the University of Missouri that led to the resignation of university president Tim Wolfe, the school’s Board of Curators named Mike Middleton, former University of Missouri-Columbia Deputy Chancellor, Interim President, Reuters has reported.
Middleton, a former alumnus and professor at the school, recently retired before being asked to serve as Interim President in Wolfe’s absence. Although retired, he had been working on the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative.
“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 Board of Curators said in a statement.
Middleton served as Deputy Chancellor for 17 years. In that role, he assisted the chancellor and led the Conflict of Interest Oversight Committee.
“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,” he said in a statement.
In a post on the Missourian’s website, Middleton said at a news conference at the university that his priority as Interim President will be on addressing “the diversity and inclusion initiatives, appointing a chief diversity office for the system, increasing the number of faculty of color on all campuses and reviewing the UM’s rules and regulations.”