It’s not every day the university gets a new president.
President Roger Best will be installed as the university’s 16th president at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the Multipurpose Building. Best replaced Charles Ambrose Aug. 1 after Ambrose took a job as CEO for KnowledgeWorks in Cincinnati, Ohio. Best served as interim president before the Board of Governors unanimously appointed him as president Nov. 2, 2018.
Shari Bax, chair of the inauguration planning committee and vice provost for Student Engagement and Experience, said a reception will be held immediately after the installation ceremony in the Elliott Student Union Ballroom. Bax said the installation ceremony and reception will be open to the campus community and will be livestreamed.
In addition to the installation ceremony and reception, Bax said Best is scheduled to throw the first pitch at the baseball game against Northwest Missouri State April 19. She said a second reception is also planned at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit in May.
Bax said she is working with a variety of faculty and staff from across campus to plan the installation ceremony and the reception that follows.
Bax said the theme of the installation ceremony and reception is milestones because of the university’s upcoming sesquicentennial in 2021.
“It is a major event (inaugurating Best,) or milestone, in the university’s history leading to 150th milestones,” Bax said.
Bax said the upcoming inauguration will be similar to previous inaugurations, as most are based on traditions in higher education.
“Academia is strongly embedded in tradition,” Bax said. “I think you will see some similar aspects to this one as there have been in previous inaugurations.”
Bax hopes the campus community participates in the installation. Classes have been canceled 12:30 to 4 p.m. April 18 to allow everyone to visit the installation and reception.
“We don’t install new presidents frequently,” Bax said. “For most of our students, this will be the first time they have ever seen a presidential inauguration.”
John Collier, president of the Board of Governors, said he is excited for the inauguration, pointing to Best’s experience.
“I think it’s a great time for the university and for the community,” Collier said. “Sixteenth president in the history of the university and a very qualified and respected new president. He’s uniquely qualified, proven track record, come up through the ranks at UCM. He’s respected both on the campus, in the state of Missouri and in the region on his abilities and it’s just a great opportunity for the university and the campus.”
Best said he is thankful for the support from the campus community, including the inauguration planning committee.
“I am so appreciative of all of the positive sentiment that individuals have expressed about my serving as president,” Best said. “That is incredibly meaningful to me. And it’s overwhelming in many ways, it’s certainly humbling in many ways and reinforces what an honor it is to serve as president for this institution.”
Best said he originally started as an assistant professor in fall 1995 before being promoted to associate professor five years later. He was appointed chair of the department of economics and finance, moving up the ranks to assistant dean and then dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. In fall 2017, Ambrose appointed Best as senior vice president of Finance and Administration, later serving as chief operating officer and executive vice president. Best served as the chair for Ambrose’s inauguration planning committee in 2010.