The University of Missouri has reinstated Patrice Delafontaine as the dean of the School of Medicine, effective immediately.
Interim chancellor Hank Foley and provost Garnett Stokes made the announcement Thursday, five months after Delafontaine resigned from the position without explanation.
Delafontaine first became the school’s dean in December 2014.
His exit became an issue among faculty, who cited “the forced resignation” of Delafontaine in a letter last fall to then-university system president Tim Wolfe announcing a vote of no confidence in then-chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Twenty-six English department faculty members signed the letter.
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The letter surfaced in the midst of ongoing turmoil on the Columbia campus, where graduate student assistants were protesting low pay, a predominantly black student group was leading protests against racial oppression that led to a student hunger strike, and Mizzou football players were refusing to play until Wolfe resigned. Less than a week later, both the system president and the chancellor stepped down.
In a statement Thursday, Stokes said Delafontaine “has demonstrated a commitment to creating a more inclusive and diverse community, which is essential for the success of the MU health enterprise and for the entire Mizzou campus. We know his leadership will strengthen our reputation as a leading public research university that provides excellent clinical, educational and research opportunities for our students.”
Foley said that reinstating Delafontaine, a native of South Africa who served as chief of cardiology at Tulane University in New Orleans prior to coming to MU, “is exactly what MU needs to move forward.”
He said, “As the state’s flagship, public research institution, and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, it is imperative that we have a leader in the School of Medicine who understands our responsibility to our students and the citizens of Missouri who rely on us to discover new information and invent new technologies to improve their lives.”