Mike Middleton speaks at legislative hearing in 2016

Mike Middleton speaks at a legislative hearing in Jefferson City during his tenure as interim president of the UM system. On Thursday, Middleton was named interim president of Lincoln University.

COLUMBIA — Former UM System Interim President Mike Middleton has been appointed interim president of Lincoln University.

Former Lincoln University President Kevin Rome announced in March that he would resign to become president of Fisk University* in Nashville, Tennessee. 

This appointment marks the second time in two years Middleton has been called upon to bring stability to an unfilled office after his retirement as MU deputy chancellor in 2015.

He succeeded UM System President Tim Wolfe in November 2015 after Wolfe resigned and served in that interim role until March 2017, when President Mun Choi took office.

"It is important to have at our helm someone who can steady the waters in our current state," Marvin Teer, president of Lincoln University's Board of Curators, said in a news release. "Based on his entire career, we have found just what we need in Mike Middleton."

Middleton also served as a professor and interim vice provost during his 30-year career at MU.

Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, D-Ferguson, released a statement following the announcement criticizing Middleton's appointment. Curtis said in the statement that he believes Middleton "consistently failed to work on improving the diversity and providing more inclusion for minorities" while at the UM System. He asked Lincoln's Board of Curators to reconsider Middleton's appointment.

"Lincoln University is a historically black college and the students and faculty deserve to have a person who will fight for minorities in (the) role as president," Curtis said in the statement. "Over the last few years, Middleton has not had a strong working relationship with the legislative Black Caucus, from taking our questions and concerns to showing up at our hearings."

Curtis has criticized Middleton before while Middleton was the UM System interim president. During an April 2016 legislative hearing, Curtis questioned him on diversity efforts. Middleton said at the time that the UM System was working to improve diversity and inclusion, citing task forces, climate surveys and a statewide audit of diversity programs.

Middleton's appointment will begin next Thursday.

Supervising editor is Claire Mitzel.

  • Summer 2017 general assignment reporter, fall 2018 writer for Vox. I am a junior studying arts & culture journalism. Reach me at gabrielavelasquez@mail.missouri.edu or (901) 216-9147.

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