After 24 years at the University of Missouri, including the last nine as chancellor, Brady Deaton is retiring effective Nov. 15.
The announcement came at a 1 p.m. news conference. Deaton will continue to serve the school as chancellor emeritus, focusing on MU’s role in international development.
“I am extraordinarily honored and privileged to have led the University of Missouri through the last nine years of exciting, eventful and rewarding times,” Deaton said in a university statement.
His tenure has seen growth and change on the campus in Columbia, with 21 new buildings, 7,700 more students and, in athletics, a move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference. Research grants and expenditures grew by almost half, and minority enrollment doubled.
“He has been an asset to Mizzou and the entire University of Missouri System,” said Board of Curators Chair Wayne Goode.
When he took the job of chancellor in October 2004, Deaton oversaw an annual budget of $1.3 billion. Now it’s $2.1 billion.
At the same time, MU has been part of a national trend of rising tuition costs. Tuition for in-state undergraduates taking a full class load has risen 48 percent, from $6,276 a year in 2004 to $9,272 in 2012-13.
The top post on the Columbia campus was a long way from Deaton’s roots on a farm in eastern Kentucky. He was the second of nine children and the first in his family to earn a college degree.
While in college at the University of Kentucky, he worked two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, where he taught vocational agriculture in the Thai language.
He graduated from Kentucky with a degree in agricultural economics in 1966. He earned a doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin. He taught at several colleges before arriving at MU in March 1989 to lead the agricultural economics department.
He moved into campuswide administration in 1993 as the chancellor’s chief of staff; the title later changed to deputy chancellor. In 1998, he was named MU provost, the campus’ chief academic officer and second in command behind then-Chancellor Richard Wallace.
In September 2004, when Wallace stepped down, Deaton served as interim chancellor for a month while the university system was to conduct a nationwide search for a permanent replacement. But the search never happened. Then-University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd announced on Oct. 1, 2004, that Deaton was the chancellor.
Deaton had barely started the job when he had to deal with a controversy about the new basketball arena – Paige Sports Arena – named for a booster’s daughter who was caught in a cheating scandal at another school. Deaton chose to rename it the Mizzou Arena.
Less than two years ago, Deaton was the central figure in MU’s move to the Southeastern Conference.
Now the search for a replacement begins.
“Finding a leader with the academic background and leadership prowess exhibited by Dr. Deaton will be our top priority,” University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe said.