University of Missouri Board of Curators names university’s 24th president

mu-choiFollowing a near year-long national search, the University of Missouri Board of Curators today announced the appointment of Dr. Mun Y. Choi, 52, as the 24th president in the history of the University of Missouri System. The current provost and executive vice president of the University of Connecticut (UConn), Dr. Choi will succeed Interim President Michael Middleton on March 1, 2017.


Board of Curators Chair Pam Henrickson introduced Choi today in Jefferson City.


“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 as provost and executive vice president 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 including Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine and Law.  Under his leadership, UConn developed several innovative new programs that have resulted in enrollment growth, increased faculty hiring, innovative research and new and expanded industry partnerships.


“I am humbled to become president of the University of Missouri System, and am excited to have the opportunity to play a role in shaping the future of this historic institution,” said Choi. “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.”


During his tenure at UConn, Choi worked closely with the university’s leaders, trustees, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy and members of the Connecticut legislature to develop and implement the framework for the $1.5 billion Next Generation Connecticut program, 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.


Additional significant accomplishments include spearheading an $18 million University Academic Plan in 2015 to strengthen research, teaching effectiveness and public engagement. His leadership helped launch an industry partnership called the Tech Park program, a $172 million project to enhance research and training programs with industry partners. To date, partnerships valued at more than $85 million have been created with such leading companies as Pratt and Whitney, General Electric, Comcast and Fraunhofer.


Born in South Korea, Choi came to the U.S. as a child. He graduated from the University of lllinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in general engineering in 1987. He later earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University.  Choi is married with three children.


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.


“Becoming president of the University of Missouri System is unquestionably the pinnacle of my professional career,” said Choi. “As a product of and passionate champion for public higher education, I will advocate tirelessly on behalf of our exceptional institutions with state and national business, political and civic leaders to achieve excellence in all that we do, and make sure our great campuses realize their full potential.”