Windmiller, Merrifield named to new positions in government and community relations

Rose Windmiller and Leah Merrifield have assumed new positions in the Office of Government and Community Relations, announced Pamela Lokken, vice chancellor for government and community relations.

Windmiller has been named assistant vice chancellor for government and community relations, and Merrifield the executive director for academic-civic engagement.

According to Lokken, the changes reflect the university’s increased focus on building even stronger relationships with state and St. Louis-area governments and communities.

“As the university’s interactions with the state of Missouri, local governments and community agencies and organizations increase, building shared understanding and enhanced, sustainable partnerships become all the more important,” Lokken says. “Through Rose’s and Leah’s positions, the university can put more energy and focus into forging mutually beneficial policies and programs.”

Both Windmiller and Merrifield assumed their new responsibilities Sept. 1, 2010.


Windmiller has more than two decades’ experience in WUSTL’s government and community relations office and previously was director of state relations and local government affairs. In addition to her current work with state government and St. Louis City and County, as assistant vice chancellor, Windmiller will offer additional support in community outreach and work on public policy issues of mutual importance and benefit to WUSTL and the St. Louis region.

“Rose Windmiller has made major contributions to Washington University in her 22 years of service to this institution,” Lokken says. “Her new position recognizes those contributions and the future work in which she will be in engaged.”

“Washington University has a well-established commitment to building strong relationships with its state and local elected officials and community partners, for the benefit of the institution and the wider community,” Windmiller says. “I am excited about the opportunity to further advance these associations.”

As executive director for academic-civic engagement, Merrifield will work to connect the university to St. Louis-area organizations and partners to help address community issues, especially in public education, community health and entrepreneurship. Merrifield will work closely with university deans and faculty as well as local community organizations.


“One of the great challenges at our university has been the coordination of community initiatives at a high level,” says Edward F. Lawlor, PhD, dean of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and the William E. Gordon Professor. “I know that the deans are looking forward to Leah’s leadership in knitting together important university community programs, working effectively with community leadership, and identifying areas where the university can make greater contributions to our region.”

Merrifield’s move to the Office of Government and Community Relations was a homecoming; Merrifield served as director of community relations from 2000-05, and, most recently, she was special assistant to the chancellor for diversity initiatives.

“I am pleased about rejoining the Office of Government and Community Relations in a new role designed to enhance support for the university’s goal of being an exemplary institution in our home community,” Merrifield says.

Windmiller was named director of state relations and local government affairs in 2000. In that position, she developed and implemented the university’s state and local government public policy agenda, working with executive, legislative and regulatory officials and agencies and developing, with the university administration, the university’s response to regional public policy issues.

From 1998-2000, Windmiller was associate director for state government relations. She was assistant director of government and community relations from 1993-98 and executive assistant to the director of government relations from 1988-1992.

Windmiller earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1985 and a master’s degree in public administration from Saint Louis University in 1990.

Before serving as director of community relations from 2000-05, Merrifield was the director of MBA student services at WUSTL’s Olin Business School from 1996-2000. Merrifield also was director of undergraduate advising at the Olin Business School from 1984-86.

Besides her work at Olin, Merrifield has held various positions in higher education administration at Georgia State University and Southwestern University.

Merrifield earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1978 and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995.