UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton has announced that he will retire in early October. In the wake of that announcement, UM System President Mun Choi will appoint Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer to serve as Interim Chancellor and Provost.
Morton will serve as Chancellor Emeritus and assume the position of Chief Operating Officer at DeBruce Companies, a well-known Kansas City company with strong business and philanthropic roots. Morton moved up his planned Spring 2018 retirement in order to take the recently opened position at DeBruce.
Bichelmeyer, a Kansas City native, was appointed UMKC Provost by Morton in June 2015.
“For two years, I have had a front-row seat to observe how to provide effective, dedicated leadership for Kansas City’s university,” Bichelmeyer said. “As both a member of the UMKC community, and a Kansas Citian, I am profoundly grateful to Leo Morton for both his service, and his example. Our university enjoys a level of civic support that few urban research universities can match. That is the keystone of Leo’s legacy.”
During his tenure as chancellor of Kansas City’s premier urban-serving research university, Morton presided over a period of significant growth in enrollment, the university’s most successful capital campaign, creation of a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion, and a successful campaign to advance UMKC’s Downtown Campus for the Arts, one of the community’s Big Five civic priorities.
In a letter to the UMKC community, Bichelmeyer commended faculty and staff for “doing an amazing job of moving positively through a period of shrinking resources and rising expectations and demands.”
“We at UMKC are ready, willing, and able to face any challenges before us and take our future into our own hands,” she said. “I am absolutely clear that this is a team effort – we each have our roles and responsibilities to perform, and the success of UMKC in the future will be the direct result of our collective effort.”