A University of Connecticut provost has been named president of the University of Missouri, nearly a year after the Missouri campus was roiled by protests over administrators' handling of racial and other issues on the Columbia campus.
Mun Y. Choi, who has served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at UConn since 2012, will replace Tim Wolfe, who resigned in November 2015 along with Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, in response to the protests, which included a hunger strike by one student and the football team threatening not to play a game if the administration did not respond to students' complaints.
Former Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton has been interim president since then.
The University of Missouri also was strongly criticized by state lawmakers, who threatened funding cuts and closer scrutiny of the system's budget. Others were angry after assistant professor Melissa Click was not immediately fired for confronting a student photographer and videographer during the protests. After months of contention, Click was dismissed from the university in February.
Choi joined the University of Connecticut in 2008 as dean of engineering and professor of mechanical engineering. He earned his master's and doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University.
"While we are sorry to lose a terrific Provost, trusted colleague, and great friend, I also know how much this advancement means to Mun and his family, and we wish them all the best. He will begin in Missouri on March 1, 2017," UConn President Susan Herbst said in a statement on Wednesday.
Choi will serve as provost at UConn until Feb. 1, 2017 and Herbst said she plans to name someone before that who will serve in an interim role after Choi leaves.
"The job market in higher education is a national one, and Mun is a talented and tenacious leader, so it comes as no surprise that other high quality institutions would seek him out. Any university would be lucky to have him," Herbst said in a statement.
This summer, the university will embark on a national search for a new provost.
Professor Ben Trachtenberg, president of the University of Missouri faculty council, said before the announcement that he was pleased that the apparent choice has an academic background. Wolfe came to the university from a software company. His predecessor, Gary Forsee, was CEO of Sprint Corp.
"That is something the faculty has said repeatedly, that it was important for the next president to have a deep knowledge of how a university works," Trachtenberg said. "Obviously, someone who has bene a provost and has done other academic work has gained an affinity for the academic mission. I'm looking forward to meeting him."