Kansas Regents appoint interim president Richard Muma to permanent position

Rafael Garcia
Topeka Capital-Journal
The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday announced Richard Muma as Wichita State University's next president.

Even though the memories are from more than 50 years ago, Richard Muma said he still remembers hearing about Wichita State University from his aunts and uncles as young boy growing up in Houston.

The relatives regaled him with fascinating stories about the school community, and that was when Muma said he learned about how special the institution — the only state university in an urban setting — really was.

"It was during these visits that I first learned of the strong sense of community here at Wichita State, and its focus as a public institution that provides educational access, a place that helps our state solves problems and one that improves the social well-being of the people it serves," he said.

It's a setting he will seek to continue after being named the university's next top administrator.

The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday morning held a special meeting in Wichita to appoint Muma, who has served as the university's interim president since the fall, to be Wichita State's 15th president.

The announcement comes after months of a Regents and community committee closed search for the next person to fill the university presidency, after former president Jay Golden abruptly resigned without explanation after only a year on the job.

Regent Allen Schmidt, who was a member of the task force, said Muma stood out especially for his invaluable leadership during a tumultuous year for the university, both because of the presidential transition and the pandemic.

He said Muma was someone who would meet the needs of the university today.

Before stepping into the interim presidency, Muma was the senior associate vice president for academic affairs and strategic enrollment at Wichita State.

He has also served for more than 30 years as a professor, administrator and physician assistant in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and he continues to be involved in healthcare issues research, with publications in notable journals and four books he has edited.

"I look forward to the future at Wichita State University, and I will work hard every day to move this university forward together," Muma said.