University of Missouri Interim Chancellor Hank Foley is leaving the Columbia campus to become president at the New York Institute of Technology, effective June 1.
Foley made the announcement in a campuswide email Wednesday afternoon. His last day at Mizzou will be May 3.
Foley has been leading MU since Jan. 1, 2016, after he accepted the job on an interim basis Nov. 9, 2015. That was just hours after former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned amid student protests over a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion on the campus, and a faculty lack of confidence in the leadership.
“Interim Chancellor Hank Foley has led the Columbia campus through some challenging times and has done an exemplary job, and has provided inspiration and leadership,” said Maurice Graham, who chairs the UM System Board of Curators.
Graham said Foley “had expressed interest in the permanent job” at MU, “but also had this opportunity to come along and it is an outstanding opportunity.”
In his email, Foley thanked the campus community, saying, “My experience here has been the most professionally enriching that I have ever had.”
Foley listed several ways the campus has moved forward under his leadership since the November 2015 upheaval.
“Our students have found ways to engage with one another and to help all new Tigers feel included and at home,” Foley said. “We have appointed a host of new deans, vice chancellors and coaches who will bring success to MU for years to come. We’ve started to truly redefine ourselves as a bona fide member of the SEC. It’s exciting, and Mizzou’s future is bright.”
He also mentioned new faculty and a new pathway for the university’s hospital and medical school.
Law professor Ben Trachtenberg, who chairs the MU Faculty Council, said Foley had gotten support from faculty. He said some faculty will see Foley’s leaving as a loss, “because he has institutional knowledge.” Others, he said, “will say we can use a fresh start.”
Although he would be paid more than his salary at MU, Foley told the Columbia Tribune that salary was not a factor in his decision to take the New York job. He noted that the cost of living in New York was much higher.
“I was very intrigued when they approached me,” Foley said. “At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became.”
New UM System President Mun Choi called Foley “an outstanding academic leader, who will bring his impressive set of experiences to achieve a bold vision for NYIT.”
Choi, who became the 24th president of the system March 1, praised Foley’s accomplishments, highlighting that during his tenure, the university has raised more than $195 million.
“Through his leadership, the faculty and staff celebrated important milestones, including record philanthropic contributions, strong extramural research and creative works, prestigious faculty distinctions and increased student retention.”
Foley came to MU in 2013 from Penn State. Before becoming interim chancellor, he served dual roles as UM System executive vice president for academic affairs, research and economic development and as MU senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies.