Terms expire for UM curators

The governor is approaching a decision on three new members.
Friday, January 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:45 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Gov. Matt Blunt will appoint three new members to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators within a month.

Spence Jackson, Blunt’s communications director, said the governor is approaching a decision, but Jackson declined to release names.

The new curators will succeed Mary James of Harrisonville, Connie Burkhardt of St. Louis and Sean McGinnis of Springfield, whose six-year terms expired Jan. 1.

Former Gov. Mel Carnahan appointed the three curators in 1999. Since then, they have overseen changes in budgeting, student financial aid and the presidency of the UM System.

The nine-member board, which also includes a student representative and a secretary, held elections for its officers in November. Thomas Atkins of Columbia replaced James as president, and Angela Bennett of Kansas City followed Atkins as vice president.

James, Burkhardt and McGinnis’ contributions will be missed, said curator Marion Cairns of Webster Groves.

“They were really outstanding curators,” said Cairns. “I enjoyed two years of working with the three of them.”

The governor is responsible for appointing curators to the board.

“The process is intentionally separate from the university because the governor is choosing the university’s leaders,” said UM spokesman Joe Moore.

The three will keep their places on the board until Blunt names their successors, Moore said. Legislative approval is needed.

Jackson said the governor will appoint those with the university’s best interests at heart.

“They will make thoughtful and reasoned decisions on its future,” he said.

The board oversees the system’s four campuses. It will hold its next meeting Feb. 3-4 in Columbia.

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