COLUMBIA — MU Provost Garnett Stokes announced Thursday morning that David Kurpius will be the new dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, effective July 1.
Kurpius is associate vice chancellor for enrollment management and a professor in the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University.
He will be the ninth dean in the 107-year history of the Journalism School, succeeding Dean Mills, who has been the Journalism School’s dean since 1989. The dean of the journalism school also serves as publisher of the Columbia Missourian.
At LSU, Kurpius managed 89 staff members and a $5.6 million operating budget. He also oversaw almost $305 million in state and federal financial aid and scholarships.
Since joining LSU’s staff in 1997, Kurpius has taught broadcast journalism and public affairs reporting with a focus on local news, according to his university biography. Before joining the administration, Kurpius served in several positions in television newsrooms around the country since 1982, according to his curriculum vitae, which can be viewed below.
Former LSU Chancellor Michael Martin described Kurpius as an approachable, engaging leader who brings new energy into any environment. Martin was impressed with how Kurpius handled new roles in different departments while staying committed to his students and promoting the entire university.
“He grew up in a college town (Bloomington, Indiana),” Martin said Wednesday night. “He has a deep passion for universities and the communities they are in.”
Lewis Friedland, Kurpius’ former professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said MU is getting someone who genuinely cares about journalism and its role in society. Friedland, who advised Kurpius’ doctoral dissertation, said he was a diligent reporter when they did field work together in the mid-1990s in the area known as public or civic journalism, often choosing to do four or five one-and-a-half to two-hour interviews a day.
In September, MU’s Journalism School announced applications were being accepted to succeed Dean Mills. Mills, who has led the school for 25 years, announced his retirement in February 2014.
Kurpius was chosen from among four finalists screened by a search committee under committee chairman and MU School of Law Dean Gary Myers, presented to MU Provost Garnett Stokes and ultimately approved by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
The other finalists were: Sonya Forte Duhé, director and professor of mass communication at Loyola University, New Orleans; Esther Thorson, professor and associate dean for graduate study at the Missouri School of Journalism; and Thor Wasbotten, director and professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.
Each candidate was brought to campus separately during February for a three-day appearance, in which candidates participated in a Q-and-A with alumni as well as an open forum for students and faculty.
During his open forum on Feb. 18, Kurpius said students were his first priority. He outlined several goals he wished to pursue including increasing diversity, embracing innovation and building on the Missouri School of Journalism’s prominent legacy.
Supervising editor is Tom Warhover.