Newly nominated UM System curator Covington faces plenty of homework

Friday, January 18, 2013 | 6:58 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ann Covington said Tuesday that she is "honored" by Gov. Jay Nixon's nomination of her to join the UM System Board of Curators.

Nixon announced the nomination in a Thursday afternoon news release, saying Covington's depth of knowledge and experience will make her a strong curator.

Covington, 70, said she has a lot of homework to do in preparation for the job ahead.

"I want to familiarize myself and review effectively what is before the board in order to be knowledgeable and useful as much as possible," she said. "I hope to make a contribution to the UM System in which I have a strong interest." 

Covington said she "believes that education is one of the lynchpins of our democracy." She has a particular interest in higher education issues.

A native of Fairmont, W.Va., Covington was appointed by then-Gov. John Ashcroft to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, in 1987 and to the state Supreme Court in 1989, making her the first woman to serve on both courts.

She served on the Supreme Court for 12 years until her retirement from the bench in 2001. She immediately embarked on private practice at the Bryan Cave law firm until 2010.

Covington got her law degree at MU in 1977 and also served as a Missouri assistant attorney general.

Wayne Goode, chairman of the board and a former state senator from St. Louis who was appointed to the board by Nixon in 2009, said Covington will bring a wealth of experience to the board.

Goode described the judge as accomplished and well-respected and said he has known her for 25 years.

"During my time as the chairman of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee, we had several one-on-one conversations regarding the court and issues regarding administration of the court," he said. "I think she did an excellent job."

"Most of the board members are attorneys who know her very well and are respectful of her and her work in the Supreme Court," Goode said. "She'd be a great addition to the board."

Covington's nomination, if confirmed by the state Senate, would see her tenure stretch to the end of 2018. Curators serve six-year terms.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer was unavailable to comment on the probability that the Senate will confirm Covington's nomination or when it might take up the matter.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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