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St. Louis, Mo.— The University of Missouri Board of Curators elected Michael Williams to serve as chair of the Board and Robin Wenneker as vice chair for one-year terms, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
“I’m honored the Board elected me to lead this body as we continue the vision of providing a world-class education to our students and cutting-edge research that all Missourians will be proud of,” Williams said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and our UM System leadership to continue to expand our research enterprise, provide opportunities for our students to learn and grow, and ensure we are meeting the state’s needs for highly skilled workers that possess the initiative and drive to lead us into the next millennia.”
Williams was appointed to the Board in 2019 by Gov. Mike Parson. He is the founding partner of Williams Dirks Dameron, LLC, where he specializes in complex and class litigation and labor and employment law. Williams is a member of the Missouri and Kansas City Metropolitan Bar associations, American Association for Justice, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys Association, and National Employment Lawyers Association. The Missouri Supreme Court appointed him to the Commission on Civil Justice Reform in 2018 and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in 2015, where he continues to serve. In 2004, he became the first African American to serve on the Kansas Bar Association Board of Governors.
Williams obtained his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he has previously served as an adjunct law professor. He has been honored by MU with the Distinguished Recent Alumni Award from the School of Law and the MU College of Arts and Science and the Faculty Alumni Award from the Mizzou Alumni Association. Williams has served as a board member and volunteer with numerous nonprofit and civic organizations.
Williams currently serves on the Finance and Health Affairs committees, and he is the chair of the Governance, Compensation and Human Resources committee.
Gov. Mike Parson appointed Wenneker to the Board in 2020. She is the managing partner of CPW Partnership, a family business that owns farm, rental and raw land holdings. She has worked with her family for more than 20 years handling investments, legal, government and accounting interfaces. Prior to working in her family business, Wenneker worked for Procter & Gamble, the 1996 Paralympic Games and Marketing Mix.
“I look forward to serving with our new chair, Michael Williams, and I’m grateful to my fellow Board members for their confidence in me,” Wenneker said. “The impact of the UM System extends far beyond the bounds of our four institutions, and we’re committed to doing our part to move our state forward.”
Wenneker is a board member for the UM System Intercampus Alumni Council and several local organizations in Columbia. She is an alumna of both the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge and the Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow programs. She’s a past president of the Mizzou Alumni Association and recipient of their Outstanding Graduate of the Last Decade Award in 2001. Wenneker is also a past president of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Foundation, and she has been honored for her commitment to the land-grant mission of the University of Missouri with the Mumford Distinguished Service Award.
She previously served on the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education after Gov. Mike Parson appointed her in 2019.
Wenneker earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from MU and her Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
Wenneker currently serves on the Academic, Student Affairs, Research and Economic Development Committee; Governance, Compensation and Human Resources Committee; and the Health Affairs Committee, which she chairs.
Williams and Wenneker succeed Darryl Chatman and Greg Hoberock, who served as chair and vice chair respectively.