(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The University of Central Missouri has named Mike Racy, vice president for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II, as the university’s first Chief Strategy Officer.
UCM’s Board of Governors approved Racy’s appointment when it met in a closed session March 29 on campus. The resident of Fishers, Ind. will begin his new duties in mid-July.
“Since adopting our new strategic positioning initiative in fall 2012, UCM has continued to move forward at a rapid pace on several initiatives that will further strengthen the institution,” said UCM President Charles Ambrose. “We’re extremely fortunate to take advantage of Mike Racy’s many years of experience as an innovator, effective leader, and strategist to keep us on course and continue our progress. We look forward to having Mike as a member of the university’s leadership team.”
Among his many duties at UCM, Racy will serve as lead facilitator for the Strategic Leadership Team, and help to create, execute, communicate and assess strategic projects at multiple levels. He will work with local, state and national legislators to strengthen and expand relationships that will help further UCM’s mission and contribute to local and state economic development.
He will also represent the president on a number of forums, and provide project management for various levels of implementation of the strategic planning initiative, the strategic governance model, strategic positioning, and specifically, the Missouri Innovation Campus, and the recently established Learning to a Greater Degree Contract for college completion initiative.
Board President Bunky Wright, Columbia, noted that considering President Ambrose’s active schedule and increasing workload, the governors have encouraged him to hire a person who could work directly with the president to accomplish key projects and initiatives. Wright said Racy proved his ability to work well with the campus community during the six months he spent at UCM in 2011 as part of the American Council on Education Fellowship.
“The board is extremely pleased that the Chief Strategy Officer’s position has been established and that Mike Racy is going to serve in this important role,” Wright said. “We knew Mike as an ACE Fellow and were quite impressed with him. With so many important initiatives in progress that are vital to the success of UCM and our students, we are confident he will provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to help us maintain our momentum and aggressively continue to move forward.”
The ACE Fellows Program was established in 1965, and is the longest-running leadership development program in the United States focused on identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators to work in higher education. According to Ambrose, while Racy was on campus he recognized the need and helped define the role of the Chief Strategy Officer.
“I have developed friendships on campus and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with folks I worked with briefly during my ACE Fellowship,” Racy said in talking about his new post. “I’m excited to join UCM. I consider it to be a school on the move. It’s a progressive institution, and for me to come in and play a small role in helping UCM students achieve their goals, and develop skills for lifelong success, that makes me very excited.”
As NCAA Division II vice president, Racy serves as a member of the NCAA President’s Cabinet. He manages the Division II governance structure and the division’s $30 million annual budget; provides leadership in the consideration of policies, legislation and issues that affect Division II member institutions and conferences; and coordinates the national office staff support and services for the division’s membership.
Racy joined the NCAA staff in November 1993 as a legislative assistant, and was assigned by the NCAA Presidents Commission to assist with a special project to reorganize the governance structure for all three NCAA divisions and to rewrite the association’s constitution. He became the assistant chief of staff for NCAA Division II in 1996, and was named chief of staff in 1999 (retitled as vice president in 2003).
A Kansas native, Racy was born in Lawrence and grew up in Abilene. He attended Washburn University in Topeka and worked for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics after his graduation, then went on to earn a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in 1992. That was followed by his legal practice with Gage and Tucker (now Lathrop and Gage) law firm in Kansas City as a general litigation attorney.
Racy and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of three boys, Cal, 15; Zac, 13; and Ty, 10. He noted that moving to UCM will also bring his family closer to relatives living in Overland Park and other nearby Kansas communities. While he and his family look forward to moving to the area, and becoming supporters of Mules and Jennies athletics, Racy said he is eager to begin work with Ambrose and the entire university.
As he put it, “I’ve known Dr. Ambrose for a long time. Just the opportunity to work in his office and do what I can to help the university accomplish its strategic goals and initiatives is an exciting opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.”