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General counsel named interim Mizzou chancellor

University of Missouri-Columbia General Counsel Steve Owens and Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton will lead the university as it searches for a new chancellor.

Owens, a former interim president for the University of Missouri System, will serve as interim chancellor, while Middleton will combine his duties as deputy chancellor with that of transition executive.

The appointments, made by University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and approved by the University of Missouri Board of Curators, will take effect Nov. 15, when Chancellor Brady Deaton officially steps down.

The board also appointed Phil Hoskins as acting general counsel for the system. He will serve in that role until Owens returns to his current position as general counsel.

The University of Missouri is conducting a national search for MU’s new chancellor, and Owens and Middleton are not candidates for the position.

Owens served as interim president of the University of Missouri System from Jan. 9, 2011, through Feb. 15, 2012.

The third generation of his family to attend MU, Owens is a 1977 graduate of the university who joined the University of Missouri System as general counsel in January 2008. Prior to joining the university, Owens practiced law at the Kansas City firm Stinson, Mag & Fizzell (now Stinson Morrison Hecker). He received his law degree in 1980 from Wake Forest University School of Law.

Middleton has served as deputy chancellor at MU since 1998, as a professor in the School of Law since 1985 and as a vice-provost from 1977-1999. Prior to coming to the university in 1985, Middleton served from 1979 to 1985 in the federal government’s Senior Executive Service, providing leadership at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Education where he helped guide both agencies through major organizational transitions.

Middleton received a bachelor’s degree in political science from MU in 1968 and is a 1971 graduate of the MU School of Law.