Mun Choi to serve as University of Missouri System’s 24th president
Following a nearly yearlong national search, the University of Missouri Board of Curators have chosen Mun Choi, 52, as the 24th president in the history of the four-campus system. Currently provost and executive vice president of the University of Connecticut (UConn), Choi will succeed Interim President Michael Middleton on March 1, 2017.
Board of Curators Chair Pam Henrickson made the announcement yesterday in Jefferson City, with representatives from all four campuses and Missouri government present.
“It is fitting that we begin a new era for the University of Missouri System today in our state’s capital city, as Dr. Choi is just the individual to lead the university system to new heights in achieving our statewide mission of serving all 114 of the state’s counties,” Henrickson said. “An outstanding and visionary leader, Dr. Choi understands and appreciates the value of public higher education, having devoted his impressive career to the success and inclusion of all students, progressive education, scholarship and state economic development.”
Choi’s 24-year career in higher education includes his present position at UConn, one of the nation’s top 20 public universities in the latest U.S. News rankings. Since 2012, he has overseen a budget of $700 million while working with 1,500 full-time faculty, 31,000 students and 2,000 staff across 12 schools and colleges. Under his leadership, UConn developed several innovative programs that have resulted in enrollment growth, increased faculty hiring, innovative research and new and expanded industry partnerships.
“Throughout the long interview process, we had an opportunity to interact with some exceptionally talented individuals and are fortunate to have landed the best of them as our next UM System president,” Henrickson said. “Dr. Choi is a man of vision, strategic thinking and integrity, an excellent communicator who is equally effective and comfortable with faculty, staff, donors, legislators and students. His leadership has been instrumental in growing UConn’s stature in the areas of research, teaching and outreach, and he is uniquely qualified to lead the UM System to greater heights as its 24th president.”
Choi told the crowd in Jefferson City that he was humbled by the appointment and excited about the opportunity to help shape the four-campus system’s role in Missouri.
“It will be my honor to work closely with the chancellors, faculty, students, staff, alumni, friends and other key constituents to continue to uphold the highest standards of excellence and integrity, delivered in an environment that respects academic freedom and inclusiveness,” said Choi.
During his tenure at UConn, Choi worked closely with the university’s leaders, trustees, Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy and members of the Connecticut legislature to develop and implement the framework for the $1.5 billion Next Generation Connecticut program. It’s an investment to increase enrollment at UConn by 5,000 students, hire 300 new faculty, increase research expenditures and create industry partnerships to create high-paying jobs in the state. Choi was instrumental in helping move the project forward by holding forums throughout the state and testifying before legislative panels to garner the necessary support from state and community leaders and industry partners.
Born in South Korea, Choi came to the U.S. as a child. As a young man, he worked in his family’s successful business in Chicago and then graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in general engineering in 1987. He later earned master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University.
Prior to serving as provost and executive vice president, Choi was dean of engineering at UConn from 2008 to 2012. Earlier, he was department head of mechanical engineering and mechanics at Drexel University (2000-2008) and assistant and associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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