Last week Jim Baker announced that he will retire June 30.
Jim came to MSU with President John Keiser in 1993 as assistant to the president. Since then he has served in a variety of important roles at the university — as director of the Ozarks Studies Institute, interim vice president for administrative services, chancellor of the Mountain Grove campus, director of the office of China programs, and, most recently, vice president for research and economic development and international programs.
Jim has left a clear mark on Missouri State. He was heavily involved in creating IDEA Commons, the university’s urban innovation park. IDEA Commons would not be as successful as it is without Jim’s dedication and leadership.
Jim was involved in many pivotal successes for MSU over the past 28 years — securing our statewide mission in public affairs, getting our name changed to Missouri State University, removing statutory degree restrictions and advocating for mission-critical appropriations.
Jim has also left a clear mark outside of our university, serving boards for the Missouri Technology Corporation, the Missouri Biotechnology Association, Springfield Innovation, Inc., and St. John’s Medical Research Institute, Inc.
Jim’s leadership is world renowned. In 2012 he received the National Friendship Award in Beijing — the highest honor the Chinese government confers to foreign experts.
Jim has been one of my strongest and most trusted advisors. I’ve always been able to depend on him for advice and support. I am grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jim, and I’ll miss him tremendously.
Renaming a division
Last week we also renamed the division Jim leads from the Division of Research and Economic Development and International Programs to the Division of Community and Global Partnerships.
While we have changed its name, we have not reorganized the division. All of the offices, units, staff and operations that were previously part of the Division of Research and Economic Development and International Programs remain part of the Division of Community and Global Partnerships.
National search for Baker’s successor
We will conduct a nationwide search for a new vice president to lead the division with a goal of selecting a new vice president before Jim’s retirement. Details about that search will be announced early in the spring semester.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!