Nietzel explains reasons for resignation

Nov 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus News, News, Top Story

by Jason McGill

Missouri State University President Michael T. Nietzel discussed his intention to step down as president at a press conference on November 3.

Nietzel, 62, said he would remain in the post through December 2010 to allow adequate time for the Board of Governors to find his successor.

Nietzel began thinking of leaving the presidency early this year, and he came to the decision to stay resign in August.

“I know Dr. Nietzel has been wrestling with this since early in the summer,” said Paul Kincaid, Nietzel’s chief of staff, in a press release. “It has been difficult for him, but he is confident that it is the best decision.

Nietzel mulled the decision over until last Friday, when he first informed the Board of his intention.


Photo by Jenna Drew. MSU President Michael Nietzel speaks during Legacy Day during August.

He then informed the administrative staff, followed by a mass email sent to campus the following Monday, informing them of the decision.

“At both the personal and professional levels, I want and need a change,” Nietzel said. “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.”

When asked what role his wife’s illness played in his decision, Nietzel said the personal reasons for his decision were personal, and he would not elaborate on them.

Nietzel mentioned interest in a teaching position with the psychology department at MSU, but said he had no definite plans and no one had approached him about a job before or since the announcement.

Board of Governors Chair Brian Hammons said the Board will develop a plan for the search process in the near future.

“He has been a great leader for the university and a strong spokesperson for higher education in the State of Missouri,” Hammons said in a press release. “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.”

Nietzel (pronounced KNIT-zel) was hired in July 2005 after a national search for the ninth president of what was then called Southwest Missouri State University. Before that, Nietzel served 32 years at the University of Kentucky.

“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,” Kincaid said.

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