Rose A. Windmiller, assistant vice chancellor for government and community relations at Washington University in St. Louis, has been appointed a member of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s special Ferguson Commission.
She is one of 16 commission members who were announced and sworn in during a news conference held Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.
The independent commission is charged with working to address the social and economic conditions highlighted by protests following the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and to make specific recommendations for action.
The Ferguson Commission includes a diverse group of St. Louis community members, including business owners and not-for-profit leaders, teachers and lawyers, police officers and activists and pastors and public servants, who will investigate issues of poverty, law enforcement and education in the St. Louis region and provide policy recommendations. To see a list of the commission members, visit here.
More than 300 people applied or were nominated to join the commission. The newly formed state Office of Community Engagement interviewed all of the considered applicants and made the final decision on which applicants were accepted onto the commission.
“While they are clearly a diverse group, they are united by their shared passion to promote understanding, to hasten healing, to ensure equal opportunities in education and employment, and to safeguard the civil rights of all our citizens,” Nixon said during the news conference. “They are tough, they are smart and they are empowered. They also are independent.”
The governor has asked the group to study the underlying issues brought to light by the events in Ferguson, tap the expertise needed to address the issues from poverty and education to governance and law enforcement and to submit a report by Sept. 15, 2015, that contains specific, practical recommendations to make the St. Louis region a stronger, fairer place for everyone to live.
“The most important work the commission accomplishes will not be what is written on sheets of paper, but will be seen and felt in our daily lives as concrete changes in our institutions, our work places, our communities and in our interactions with one another. Change of this magnitude is hard, but maintaining the status quo is simply not acceptable,” Nixon said.
“Rose Windmiller is a great ambassador for Washington University and a lifelong St. Louisan who grew up in North County, and I think she will be an effective and informed contributor to the Ferguson commission,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.
“I have the utmost confidence in Rose and in her abilities to help the commission move forward in its important work to help create a stronger region that can improve the quality of life for all in our community. She has my full backing and support as she takes on this role.”
During her 26 years in Washington University’s Office of Government & Community Relations, Windmiller’s responsibilities have increasingly focused on building stronger relationships with state and St. Louis-area governments and communities.
As assistant vice chancellor, she is responsible for the university’s state and local public policy agenda, and represents the university’s interests in Jefferson City, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.
“As a native St. Louisan who grew up in North County, I am deeply aware of the issues affecting many parts of our region,” Windmiller said. “The question we must face is this: are we actively engaged with members of our community who, by virtue of visible and invisible barriers, are less able to take full advantage of the educational, healthcare, and economic benefits that many of us accept as standard?
“The members of the Ferguson Commission will listen, learn and help create an agenda to move our region forward at this critical time. I am honored to serve as a representative of Washington University,” Windmiller said.
In addition to Windmiller, three commission members have ties to Washington University, including two alumnae. They are Bethany A. Johnson-Javois, CEO of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network, who earned a master of social work from the Brown School in 2002; and Brittany N. Packnett, executive director of Teach for America-St. Louis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in African and African-American studies in Arts & Sciences as an Ervin Scholar in 2006. Gabriel E. Gore, JD, a partner with the St. Louis-area law firm Dowd Bennett, is a member of the Brown School National Council.
Windmiller serves as the university’s representative to the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and on the boards of several organizations, including the Independent Colleges & Universities of Missouri, the St. Louis Loop Trolley Company, and the Missouri Cures Educational Foundation.
Windmiller was recently elected chairperson of Citizens for Modern Transit. She also serves on the Webster University Neighborhood Advisory Council and Saint Louis University’s Executive Advisory Committee for the Master of Public Administration program.
She is a graduate of the CORO/Focus St. Louis Women in Leadership Program and the American Council on Education’s National Women’s Leadership Forum. In 2012, she received the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Political Science Alumnae of the Year award.
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.