By Alexis Lee, News Writer
Dr. Mun Y. Choi was named as the new president-delegate for the University of Missouri System to succeed Interim Michael Middleton for the upcoming year. Board of Curators Chair Pam Henrickson announced this selection on Wednesday, November 2, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, Missouri. Henrickson had explained: “It is fitting that we begin a new era for the University of Missouri System today in our state’s capitol 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.”
Born in South Korea, Dr. Mun Choi moved to the United States as a child. He worked in his family’s successful business in Chicago while attending school until he began his attendance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a bachelor’s degree in general engineering in 1987. He later earned his masters and doctoral degrees from Princeton University in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
The fifty two year-old husband and father of three has lived a life devoted to the educational system. His twenty four years of working experience in higher education has given him an exceptional timeline of professional accomplishments. Dr. Mun Choi has worked with 1,500 full-time faculty, 31,000 students, two thousand staff, and twelve schools and colleges while overseeing a budget marking at seven hundred million dollars in value. The provost and executive president at the University of Connecticut (UConn), a university among the top 20 ranking by U.S. News, was selected based on his strong values of “inclusion of all students, progressive education, scholarship, and state economic development.” The board and presidential search committee feel that a professional with his impressive career is just what the UM System needs to motivate and drive the future of the higher education institutions, and his qualities matched those that university employees and Missourians desired in a new president for the system.
From 2000 to 2008, Dr. Mun Choi served as the department head of mechanical engineering and mechanics at Drexel University. He was then hired on as the dean of engineering for UConn, and he held that position for four years. Dr. Mun Choi was also an assistant and associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among some of the most notable accomplishments of Dr. Mun Choi were increasing enrollment, increasing faculty staff, improving available research opportunities, and expanding the industry partnership base. At UConn, he participated in the implementation of the 1.5 billion dollars Next Generation Connecticut Program, which led to a boost of five thousand in enrollment, three hundred faculty new hires, an increase in research expenditures, and creations of more high-paying jobs in the state. In 2015, he organized an eighteen million dollar University Academic Plan to improve teaching effectiveness, public engagement, and research opportunities. He also launched a 172 million dollar Tech Park program to enhance involvement with industry and professional training.
Within the UM System, Dr. Mun Choi’s duties will encompass the Columbia (MU), Kansas City (UMKC), Rolla (Missouri S&T), and St. Louis (UMSL) institutions. “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,” stated Dr. Mun 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.”
His presidential term will take effect March 1, 2017.