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Richard "Biff" Williams is scheduled to start July 1.
provided by Missouri State University
Richard "Biff" Williams is scheduled to start July 1.

MSU hires next president

Posted online

Last updated 12:17 p.m. [Editor's note: Additional information has been added.]

The Missouri State University Board of Governors has chosen the higher education institution's next president.

Richard “Biff” Williams is scheduled to become MSU's 12th president on July 1, according to a news release. He was named among three finalists in January as successor to Clif Smart, the university's president since 2011.

Williams has served as president of Utah Tech University the past 10 years.

“We’re confident Dr. Williams is the right person to lead MSU into the future,” board Chair Lynn Parman said in the release. “He is very student focused. He also has proven success in strategic planning, community engagement, legislative advocacy and fundraising."

Williams was selected over finalists John Jasinski, MSU provost since 2022, and Roger Thompson, vice president for student services and enrollment management at the University of Oregon.

Williams has 25 years of leadership experience in higher education. At Utah Tech, he's credited with helping to increase enrollment by more than 40% and adding over 200 academic programs, as well as guiding the school through a name rebranding and a move to Division I athletics, according to the release.

In an interview with members of the media this morning, Williams said enrollment at Utah Tech has increased to over 12,500 students from around 8,000 when he started there. At MSU, he said pushing the university’s “great brand” will be key in enrollment growth.

“We will definitely need to be aggressive in recruiting students,” he said.

Williams said his first priority as president would be to meet with key stakeholders.

“I believe in a collaborative administration,” he said. “My first order of business is to meet as many people as possible.”

Smart is set to retire from the university this summer, as previously announced.

An expanded version of this article is slated to appear in Springfield Business Journal’s March 11 print edition.

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