Lokken to retire as vice chancellor for government and community relations


Pamela Lokken, vice chancellor for government and community relations at Washington University in St. Louis, will retire from the university this fall after more than 30 years of service. 

“We celebrate Pam for her substantial contributions to the Washington University community, both measurable and immeasurable,” Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said. “She has been instrumental in positioning the university to advance its mission at the national, state and local levels. She has served in this role during several critical junctures in the university’s history — collaborating closely with Chancellors Danforth, Wrighton and myself — and has done so with her characteristic humility, warmth, humor and common sense. I join with countless others across the university in stating, simply, that we will miss Pam and that we deeply appreciate all she has done to make Washington University a leader in higher education.”

Lokken joined Washington University in 1991 and has served in senior leadership roles for over three decades. As vice chancellor, she has led a team that oversees the university’s federal, state and local governmental and community affairs initiatives. Her experience includes extensive engagement at all levels of government and associated legislative bodies, executive branch departments and regulatory agencies. Among her specific areas of public policy expertise are scientific research, health care, higher education and tax policy. 

Earlier this year, Lokken was honored by the Association of American Universities (AAU) — whose membership is composed of America’s leading research universities — with the 2022 Legacy Award, which recognizes career excellence, distinguished contributions to the community and national leadership in the higher education community. An excerpt from the award citation states: “By all measures Pam is one of the great leaders in higher education in building trust and alliances with the federal government as well as taking it on, when needed. Pam knows that our work is not about who is in or out in D.C., but about students, teaching, research and patient care and promoting, protecting and providing for Washington University and the St. Louis region.” 

As a trusted leader, Lokken developed critical relationships to advance meaningful change. Her accomplishments include establishing the National Institute for Food and Agricultural Research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; transferring federal property to make Washington University the sole owner of the Tyson Research Center; preserving the university’s ROTC program from elimination; protecting stem cell research; and expanding the Missouri Medicaid program. She also was instrumental in the vision and early development of the Danforth Plant Science Center, the expansion of St. Louis’ public transit system and university-supported development in surrounding communities. 

Lokken helped spearhead the creation of several national and statewide advocacy coalitions to protect and advance research being conducted at Washington University and other institutions, including The Science Coalition, the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, Supporters of Agricultural Research, United for Medical Research, Missouri Biotechnology Association and Missouri Cures. She has chaired key committees for the AAU, the American Association of Medical Colleges and the Consortium on Financing Higher Education and has served as a board member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Tuition Plan Consortium and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. 

“I’m immensely proud of the progress the university has made as an engaged partner in community and government affairs over the past three decades. We’ve elevated our research profile, expanded our student financial aid, and enhanced our economic and community impact in the St. Louis region,” Lokken said. “I’m honored to have been part of these efforts and I credit so much of the progress to the talented and dedicated team in the Office of Government & Community Relations, with whom I’ve had the enormous privilege to work.”

Lokken’s last day at the university will be Sept. 2. A search for her successor will be announced in coming weeks.

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