Citing a combination of personal and professional reasons, Missouri State University President Michael T. Nietzel announced that he will step down as president by Dec. 31, 2010.
Nietzel became the University’s ninth president on July 1, 2005. He informed the Board of Governors of his plans to resign during an executive session of the regular Oct. 30 meeting.
“I informed the Board of Governors of my desire to resign as president of Missouri State University at some point in 2010,” said Nietzel. “I told the Board that I would be willing to remain in my position until Dec. 31, 2010, in order to give the University a good opportunity to conduct a thorough, national search for the next president. However, I am also prepared to step down as soon as the Board finalizes its search and the next president is ready to begin the position. I have asked the Board to begin its search process in as timely a manner as possible.
“I also believe that by announcing this decision now, I can help the University be in a better position regarding its future because it will be able to develop its next long-range plan under the direction of a new president who will be here to see that vision through, just as I was able to do when I came to MSU in 2005.”
Nietzel admitted that it was a difficult decision.
“It is very hard to know when to step away from a job you love,” he said. “I am in that dilemma. I am proud to be president of Missouri State University. It is an invigorating job. The Board of Governors has been an exceptionally good group for whom to work. My colleagues at MSU – administrators, faculty and staff – are superb. The students are a daily reward. The Ozarks region brings most of the daily pleasures of life that anyone could want.
“But I decided in August that my time to resign is here. At both personal and professional levels, I want and need a change. The presidency of MSU is a very public, demanding and complex job. I have concluded that I cannot continue to do that job at a level of achievement that I want from myself and that the University has every right to expect from its president.”
Board Chair Brian Hammons, of Stockton, responded to the announcement. “Obviously, all of us on the Board of Governors are saddened to think about Dr. Nietzel not being our president,” said Hammons. “He has been a great leader for the University and a strong spokesperson for higher education in the state of Missouri. By any measure, the past four years under Dr. Nietzel have been tremendous years for Missouri State. He will be missed and he will be very difficult to replace.
“We very much appreciate Dr. Nietzel giving us 14 months’ notice to allow for a smooth transition.”
Under Nietzel’s leadership in the past four years, the University made a number of changes and improvements in academics and faculty, research, finances, access for students, facilities, fundraising, and alumni/community/state relations.
“I know Dr. Nietzel has been wrestling with this since early in the summer,” said Paul Kincaid, Nietzel’s chief of staff. “It has been difficult for him, but he is confident that it is the best decision.
“The University will miss his leadership. He has great ideas and knows how to sell them. He is equally comfortable and effective with faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and legislators. And he has the ability to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships for the University. He has a combination of talent and skills that is hard to find.
“Like all of us, I think his goal was to leave the University in better shape than it was when he arrived. He definitely succeeded.”