Missouri State University executive Jim Baker is retiring after nearly three decades working at the school.
Baker, the university's vice president for research and economic development and international programs, is scheduled to retire on June 30, 2022, according to a news release.
“Jim will leave a lasting legacy at the university,” MSU President Clif Smart said in the release. “He has been involved in some of the university’s most pivotal points in history – securing our statewide mission in public affairs and getting our name changed to Missouri State University. And he’s led significant growth in our research, economic development and international programs."
Baker currently oversees international programs, research administration, broadcast services, the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center, and the Robert D. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development. He started in 1993 as assistant to former university President John Keiser.
Additionally, Baker's tenure at MSU has included roles as director of the Ozarks Studies Institute, interim vice president for administrative services and chancellor of the Mountain Grove campus. He serves on the boards of the Missouri Technology Corp. and Springfield Innovation Inc., and he's been involved in creating and developing the IDEA Commons area downtown.
“The changes I have witnessed at the university during that time have been remarkable," Baker said in the release. “Those changes have occurred as a result of the extraordinary leadership and hard work of presidents Keiser, [Michael] Nietzel and Smart, and the faculty and staff that make Missouri State University so outstanding."
Baker is credited with helping to grow international student enrollment to 1,605 today from 265 when he started, as well as increasing external research funding to $36 million from less than $10 million. In 2012, he received the China National Friendship Award, the highest honor given to foreign experts who have made contributions in China. MSU has a campus in Dalian.
A search for Baker's successor is slated to start this spring. Chief of Staff Ryan Deboef and College of Business Dean David Meinert will lead the search committee, according to the release.
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.