New UM System President Tim Wolfe takes office

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 | 12:49 p.m. CST; updated 6:52 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Timothy Wolfe chats with General Counsel office staff about the tie he decided to wear for his first day as the new University of Missouri System president. Wolfe began work on Wednesday at University Hall.

COLUMBIA — Before a day full of meetings, the University of Missouri System held a reception Wednesday morning to welcome its new president, Tim Wolfe.

"It's the first day of what I hope to be a very long and last role of my career," Wolfe said after the reception in University Hall.

Former interim President Steve Owens, who returned to his position as system general counsel Wednesday, said he thinks Wolfe will prove to be a capable president. Wolfe has spent nearly every day since the beginning of the year in Columbia or on UM campuses, Owens said.

Wolfe said that since being named to the president position in December, everyone he's talked to during his campus visits has been passionate about, and interested in, higher education.

Wolfe also said that he's had the chance to meet with Gov. Jay Nixon and that they have had constructive conversations about the challenges facing the state and the battle to bring jobs to Missouri.

Living at Providence Point — the residence near the Missouri athletic complexes reserved for the UM System president — hasn't been too shabby either, he said. Wolfe spent much of his life in Columbia, graduated from Rock Bridge High School and MU and moved into the residence shortly after being named president in December.

"It's great — the views are spectacular," he said. "It has become a great coming-home event."

His wife, Molly Wolfe, and the couple's 16-year-old twins, Madison and Tyler, are visiting Columbia this weekend, the new president said.

Wolfe — who smoothly greeted the eight or so reporters personally at a short press conference after the reception — said the media attention comes with the territory.

"There's a lot of scrutiny in everything you do, and that's part of the job."

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