ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The president of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph plans to retire next year.

Robert Vartabedian announced his intention to retire to the campus Friday. He has been the university's president since 2008.

Western Board of Governors chairman David Liechti praised Vartabedian's contributions to the university. He said the board of governors is already discussing the search process for a new president.

During his tenure, Missouri Western created the Walter Cronkite Memorial, added nine new or substantially renovated facilities and brought the Kansas City Chiefs training camp to campus.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports Vartabedian and his wife, Laurel Vartabedian, plan to spend more time with their family after retirement.

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Information from: St. Joseph News-Press/St. Joe, Missouri, http://www.newspressnow.com