Steve Owens (Missouri)

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Steve Owens (born c. 1955) was the interim president of the University of Missouri System, a four-campus system with headquarters in Columbia, Missouri, from January 9, 2011 until February 15, 2012. After serving as interim president, he returned to his previous position as General Counsel of the University. [1][2]

Among the events that occurred on his watch as president was the decision in 2011 for the university system's flagship school, the University of Missouri - Columbia, to move from the Big 12 Conference (which it had a relationship from its predecessor in 1907) to the Southeastern Conference.

Early life[edit]

Owens was born in Kansas City, Missouri and attended Glendale High School in Springfield, Missouri, where he was student body president.[3] He was the third generation of his family to attend the University of Missouri.[3] While at MU he was a member of the varsity tennis team and tapped into honor societies QEBH and Omicron Delta Kappa.[3]

After graduating from the University of Missouri in 1977 with a BS in Public Administration, Owens attended Wake Forest University School of Law.[3] He received his JD in 1980 and then clerked for the Honorable William Robert Collinson, United States Judge for the Western District of Missouri.[3]

In 1981 Owens joined the Kansas City, Missouri law firm Stinson, Mag, & Fizzell (now Stinson Morrison Hecker).[3] While at the law firm, he was named partner; served on the firm's board of directors and its executive committee; and chaired the firm's litigation department and its complex litigation and class action division.[4] He has been selected for "The Best Lawyers in America" and "The Kansas and Missouri Super Lawyers " peer listings and he has Martindale Hubble's highest ratings (AV) for competence and ethics. As part of his private practice, Owens and law partner Robert Lattinville launched a sports law group that grew to include Norm Stewart, Rick Majerus, Cheryl Burnett, Jackie Stiles and others as clients. Owens and Lattinville were designated "Preferred Counsel" by the Women Basketball Coaches Association.

University of Missouri[edit]

In January 2008, Owens became general counsel for the University of Missouri System.[3][5] When university president Gary D. Forsee unexpectedly announced his resignation to care for his sick wife, Owens became interim president of the university in January 2011. [3]

During the time Owens was interim president, the university faced an 8% reduction in state support and a projected $42 million revenue shortfall, but balanced its $2.7 billion budget and provided faculty and staff with their first pay raise in three years.[2][6] Also during Owens tenure, the University's 50-year-old pension plan was reformed; student enrollment continued to grow; and the academic credentials of incoming student continued to improve.[2][6] He also expanded the University's ethics hotline and promulgated a rule reiterating academic freedom for faculty and protecting classroom discussions for students.[6][7]

In 2011, while Owens was interim president, the longstanding and lucrative relationship between the University of Missouri - Columbia and the Big 12 athletic conference was thrown into turmoil after Texas A&M University announced it was moving to the SEC and the University of Oklahoma announced it would explore its options to realign with another athletic conference (the University of Nebraska and University of Colorado had left the year before). Looking to get stability for its athletic program and budget, Owens worked with the University's governing board and campus leaders to move the school to the SEC.[3][8] The University became a member of the SEC effective July 1, 2012.

On December 13, 2011, a permanent successor, Timothy M. Wolfe, was named to start on February 15, 2012, and Owens returned to his previous position as general counsel.[1][2]


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Gary D. Forsee
President of the University of Missouri System (interim)
Succeeded by
Timothy M. Wolfe