Wolfe named new MU president - Live video from Tuesday press conference

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Pictured above: New University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe address a crowd of university officials at his announcement ceremony. Wolfe is a graduate of the UM business school with a lengthy career as an information technology executive.

Story and Photo Tim Sampson
Missouri New Horizon

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A wife from University of Kansas not withstanding, the University Board of Curators say they’ve found the next president of the University of Missouri system.

On Tuesday, the University announced that MU business school alumnus Timothy Wolfe, 53, would take over as the 23rd president of the university system in February. The announcement follows a nearly year long nation search.

Wolf is formerly a top executive from the information technology firm Novell and spent 20-years prior as an executive at IBM. His parents are both university professors with ties to MU. Warren Erdman, chair of the Board of Curators, said this mix of business experience and ties to higher education would serve the new president well.

“Tim Wolfe comes back to us as a successful graduate with a 30-year career in business,” Erdman said. “He comes back to us now with nation and international experience, but with a heart that has always stayed in Missouri.”

While speaking to reporters and university stakeholders, Wolfe expressed a deep desire to maintain educational standards as the university continues to face the twin pressures of rapid enrollment growth and state funding deterioration.

“I will work tirelessly with all (university stakeholders) to enable our campuses to realize their full potential and to find the resources necessary to give Missouri the technology, the research, the learning and the educated citizenry that it needs to compete,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said he is supportive of Gov. Jay Nixon’s initiatives to create a performance-based funding system for state higher education. Wolfe said, he would be working in the coming weeks and months to introduce himself to key state government officials, including the governor. But due to his relative newness, he said his interim predecessor Stephen Owns – who reverts to his roll as university general counsel in February – would be handling many of the more “pointed” meetings regarding higher education funding in the coming legislative session, which begins next month.

During the announcement ceremony, Wolfe also introduced his family. And in a moment of sheepish humor, he acknowledged “in the interest of full disclosure” that his wife Molly was a graduate of UM’s longtime rival school – KU.  But he then reassured the crowed that his twin 16-year-old children would only receive recruitment information from their father’s school.