Burton named vice chancellor for government relations


J.D. Burton has been named vice chancellor for government relations at Washington University in St. Louis, according to Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. He will begin the role March 27.

Burton has served as the chief government relations officer for the University of Minnesota since 2016. He replaces Pam Lokken, who retired from the university in September after serving in the role for more than 30 years.

In his position, Burton will provide the vision and leadership to ensure that the university’s government affairs office is forward-thinking while grounded in deep expertise about university initiatives and priorities. He and his team will focus on effectively communicating with public officials at the local, state and federal levels of government to increase an understanding of those initiatives and their positive societal impact.

Burton was selected by a 10-member search committee led by Monica Allen, vice chancellor and general counsel. During the search, Rose Windmiller, associate vice chancellor for government relations and for St. Louis college readiness initiatives, served as interim vice chancellor for government and community relations. 

“We’re fortunate to have found a capable, talented and experienced leader like J.D. Burton to fill this critical role for the university,” Martin said. “I’m confident that he will successfully navigate emerging issues, positively engage with public officials and help to strengthen and build on the university’s strong relationships at all levels of government.

“I’d like to thank members of the search committee for their diligence and hard work, and also express my deep appreciation to Rose Windmiller, who has served capably as interim vice chancellor while we’ve completed this search. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Rose and the entire government relations and community affairs team in the future.”

Burton’s professional career and legal background have afforded him the opportunity to serve in several roles in law, government and higher education. During his six years at the University of Minnesota, Burton directed and led government relations activities for the campus system at the local, state, and federal levels. He served as director of state relations at the university from 2015-16 before stepping into his current position. Under his leadership, the university opened its first Washington, D.C.-based Office of Federal Relations.

Burton also worked in government relations in the office of St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Christopher B. Coleman from 2012-15, including as director from 2013-15. His previous experience includes serving as a senior attorney at Flaherty & Hood from 2008-2012, where he represented communities across the state; law clerk positions in Minnesota’s largest city and county, and as a legislative assistant for a senior member of Congress in Washington. He began his career in federal relations at the Minneapolis-based law firm Lockridge Grindal Nauen.

“I’m excited to join Washington University and work closely with Chancellor Martin, his leadership team, and our colleagues across the institution to share the important work and impact that faculty, staff and students are making every day, from medical research to education to community outreach in St. Louis and beyond,” Burton said. “This is an important time for the university, with great potential to deepen its engagement with elected officials, community leaders, advocates and other constituencies across Missouri and beyond. I am honored to take on this new challenge, and I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Burton earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Luther College in Iowa and his law degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn.

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