Senate confirms Pamela Henrickson as University of Missouri System curator

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | 7:24 p.m. CST; updated 1:19 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 1, 2012

COLUMBIA — Pamela Henrickson was confirmed as a member of the University of Missouri System Board of Curators on Wednesday, said Farrah Fite, majority caucus communications director for the state Senate.

The confirmation came hours after Henrickson's hearing before the Gubernatorial Appointments Committee on Wednesday morning. The committee asked no questions of Henrickson during her hearing, Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said.

The Board of Curators will now have at least seven of nine members when it meets next week at University of Missouri-Kansas City. The board plans to vote then on tuition and fee increases at all four UM System campuses.

Curator Judith Haggard resigned Jan. 17, citing personal reasons.

Gov. Jay Nixon's press secretary, Scott Holste, said he was "not aware" of any existing timetable to replace Haggard.

Curator Craig Van Matre, who was nominated by Nixon, faces opposition in the state Senate, which must confirm his nomination to the board by Feb. 3 if he is to remain a voting member. The deadline is the same date as the curators' vote.

Kehoe said the Senate has 30 days from the beginning of its session, which was Jan. 4, to confirm Van Matre's appointment.

A decision about Van Matre's advancement in the confirmation process could come as early as Monday, when the appointments committee is slated to meet.

Board of Curators chairman David Bradley said the two empty seats present a problem for the governing body.

"It is important for the board to have a full complement of curators to discuss critical issues coming up, like setting next year's tuition and how to cope with drastic cuts in state aid," he said. "We hope the governor and state Senate work together to expedite the appointment and confirmation of new curators."

Gov. Nixon appointed Henrickson, a Jefferson City attorney, to the board in August 2011. She served the state for several years as general counsel for the Missouri Division of Design and Construction. She received a degree from the MU School of Law and is a member of the University of Missouri Alumni Association, according to the UM System website.

Kehoe sponsored Henrickson at her hearing Wednesday. He said he has known Henrickson and her family for more than 20 years.

"We're excited to have Pam as a representative for this congressional district," Kehoe said. "She understands the importance of education."

Kehoe said Henrickson, who didn't return calls to her office Wednesday, was concerned with the amount of money allocated for education in the state budget.

"I think she'll fight very hard for Missouri to improve funding for education," he said.

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