Politics & Government

Regents name Andy Tompkins interim president at Wichita State

Aerial view of WSU’s Innovation Campus

A drone's eye view of Wichita State’s Innovation Campus.
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A drone's eye view of Wichita State’s Innovation Campus.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect spelling of Andy Tompkins’ name.

Following the death of Wichita State’s president John Bardo, the Kansas Board of Regents named Andy Tompkins interim president of the university on Thursday.

Bardo died earlier this month after being in and out of the hospital since November for treatment of a chronic lung condition. Provost Richard Muma has been serving as acting president since January.

Tompkins served as interim president at Fort Hays State University from December 2016 to November 2017 while that university conducted a search for a new president.

The selection of Tompkins was announced through an e-mail Thursday afternoon.

“The Regents are pleased that Dr. Tompkins will bring his expertise and wealth of experience to Wichita State University,” said Dennis Mullin, chair of the Kansas Board of Regents, in the e-mail announcement.

“We are confident that he will continue the good work being done at WSU and successfully oversee the University,” Mullin said.

He also thanked Muma for his service as acting president. “He has done an outstanding job shouldering the responsibilities of two very important positions, and I’m happy he’ll be able to focus on the extensive duties of the Provost moving forward.”

Tompkins was president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents from 2010 to 2015 and has worked in education since 1969. He has a master’s degree from Emporia State University and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Kansas.

“Andy Tompkins is very well thought of at Wichita State by those of us who have worked with him,” said Lou Heldman, vice president for strategic communications at Wichita State in an e-mail.

Tompkins, who was on the search committee that chose Bardo in 2012, will serve as president at Wichita State until the regents select a full-time replacement for Bardo.

Heldman said Bardo spoke highly of Tompkins and consulted him regularly about Wichita State plans, relying on his expertise to help the university’s affiliation with WSU Tech.

“We knew the regents were meeting today and that an interim president might be named,” Heldman said. “Decisions about the WSU presidential search will be made and announced by the Kansas Board of Regents.”

Matt Keith, spokesman for the Kansas Board of Regents, said the next step for the board will be to select a chair for the search committee.

The committee will vet the first round of applicants and narrow the field to a list of finalists who the regents will interview before deciding on a new president, he said.

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