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Jim Baker awarded Missouri State University’s Leadership Chair

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

bakerLong-time Missouri State University administrator Dr. Jim Baker was selected by the Missouri State University Board of Governors to hold the University Leadership Chair. Baker, vice president for research and economic development and international programs, is only the second administrator to hold the endowed chair since it was established in 2008.

The Board made the selection March 8 at its retreat in St. Louis. The designation is for two years and comes with $2,500 per year in supplemental pay.

“Jim is very deserving of this award,” said Missouri State University President Cifton M. Smart III. “He loves this university and its students. While we have many great members on the administrative team, I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than Jim.”

The University Leadership Chair was established in 2008 by the Board of Governors under the leadership of Mary Sheid. The Board is able to award the endowed chair to a member of the university’s central administration who has demonstrated superb leadership. The only other recipient was President Michael T. Nietzel, who held the designation from 2008-10.

“Working at MSU is both an honor and a privilege,” Baker said. “There is no greater joy in life than watching our students grow and develop into productive and engaged citizens.”

Baker began his tenure at Missouri State as assistant to former President John Keiser in 1993. In his 20 years at the university, he has been instrumental in developing and expanding several signature programs, including the Jordan Valley Innovation Center and IDEA Commons, and Missouri State’s international programs. He also is well-known statewide for being the long-time host of “Ozarks Watch” video magazine.

In addition to his university duties, Baker was appointed to the Missouri Technology Corporation by Governor Jay Nixon and is the director of the Springfield Center for Excellence in Life Sciences. He is also a member of board of the Mercy Medical Research Institute, Inc.

A native of Middlesboro, Ky., Baker received his B.A. magna cum laude in sociology and his master’s degree in public administration, both from Boise State University. He earned his Ph.D. in education from the University of Idaho.

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