- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri School of Journalism is looking for a new dean.

The university announced Thursday that its current leader, Dean Mills, plans to retire in August after 25 years overseeing the nation’s first journalism school.

Mills will remain with the university as part-time director of a fellowship program at the journalism school’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The research institute opened a decade ago under Mills‘ watch with a $31 million gift, the largest donation to the university. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation subsequently donated another $15 million for operating expenses at the think tank and a $30.1 million endowment.

He also presided over a significant physical expansion of the journalism school and oversaw the relocation of two professional organizations to Columbia, the American Society of News Editors and the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

In a letter to faculty members, Mills recounted that he initially planned to keep the job for five or six years, a more typical tenure for academic deans. Instead, his quarter-century in charge left Mills as the university’s longest serving dean.

“You may have noticed some procrastination,” Mills wrote. “But now, nearly 25 years later, I realize I can’t hold onto this job forever just because I continue to enjoy it. It’s time (some of you might say way past time) for the school to have a new dean.”

Mills is a former Moscow bureau chief and Washington correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. He has also taught at the University of Mississippi, the University of Illinois and California State University, Fullerton and was director of Pennsylvania State University’s journalism school.

Mills is a member of the Missouri Newspaper Hall of Fame as well as the hall of fame at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he received his undergraduate degree.

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