Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed both John Phillips, of Kansas City, and Michael J. Ponder, of Cape Girardeau, to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, which oversees the operation of the four-campus UM system.
Both appointments are subject to confirmation by the Missouri Senate. If approved, the terms of Phillips and Ponder, both Democrats, would end Jan. 1, 2019.
Phillips, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, has been a leader of civic, business, education and health organizations in Kansas City for the past 40 years. Since 2000, he has held leadership positions with the Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation, an organization affiliated with the University of Missouri – Kansas City that works to build closer relationships between the United States and China.
He also served for 15 years on an advisory council for the Bloch School of Business at UMKC. Phillips sits on the boards of directors for Saint Luke’s Health System, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, and Saint Luke’s Cardiovascular Consultants.
“Through his work with the Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation and the Bloch School of Business at UMKC, with Saint Luke’s Health Care, and with numerous other organizations, John has selflessly served the people of Kansas City for the past four decades,” Nixon said.
Phillips earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri in 1968 before graduating from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1971, where he was editor-in-chief of the Missouri Law Review and also in the Order of the Coif.
Ponder is a 1990 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law and obtained his bachelor’s degree from Central Methodist University in Fayette. He is a partner in the Cape Girardeau law firm of Cook, Barkett, Ponder and Wolz. He has served on the State Board of Education since 2009.
“Michael has been a great leader for Missouri education through his service on the State Board of Education for the past four years,” Nixon said. “He will bring his experience and insight to the Board of Curators to help keep tuition affordable, while preparing the next generation of graduates to compete and succeed in today’s growing economy.”