PNT Staff Report
St. Joseph, Mo. —The Missouri Western State University Board of Governors has named Robert A. Vartabedian its fourth president since 1969. Vartabedian has been vice president of academic affairs at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales since 2005.
Vartabedian will succeed James Scanlon as Western’s president on July 1, 2008.
“Dr. Vartabedian’s 22 years in higher education administration have prepared him well to be Western’s next president,” said Dirck Clark, chair of the Board of Governors. “He has outstanding communication skills and a record of meaningful engagement with the communities where he has lived. He is the right person to lead Western into the future.”
“My experiences are a good fit for the university,” said Vartabedian, describing Western as a blossoming state university. “I welcome the opportunity to shape the future of the university and the region, and to communicate Western’s mission throughout the state.”
In his current position he has recently overseen re-accreditation efforts in six departments. The university’s 2007 evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association was accepted without any deficiencies and is being showcased as a model application.
Previously, Vartabedian was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. from 1999 to 2005, and served eight months as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2004.
“We are very proud that Dr. Vartabedian has been named president of Missouri Western State University,” ENMU President Steven Gamble said. “He has done a great job at Eastern, and we know that he will make an excellent president there. His selection is just another confirmation of the outstanding staff we have at Eastern. We hate to see him go, but we wish him well.”
Community involvement has been a hallmark of Vartabedian’s career. He created the ENMU “Peanut Project” as a way to forge a partnership with the local peanut industry while providing students with hands-on experience in a marketing campaign. He also recently directed a faculty showcase theatre production of Mitch Albom’s “And the Winner Is,” with proceeds benefiting ENMU scholarships and the Portales MainStreet program.
Previous administrative experience for Vartabedian includes time at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas and Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan.