COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Monday announced he's appointing Blue Springs native and former Mizzou basketball star Jon Sundvold to the governing board of the University of Missouri System, along with a top Express Scripts official.
The first-year Republican governor chose Express Scripts Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Julie Brncic, along with Sundvold, to fill two vacant seats on the system's board of curators.
Sundvold has worked as a curator before. Former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon initially appointed him to serve on the board during Nixon's last few months in office last year, but he never received Senate confirmation. Sundvold didn't immediately return an Associated Press request for comment Monday.
If confirmed by the Republican-led state Senate, Greitens' appointees will step into leadership at a four-campus system that drew national scrutiny following 2015 protests over racial issues at the Columbia campus.
One student went on a hunger strike, and the football team threatened not to play over concerns that administrators were indifferent to complaints of racial problems. The protests culminated with the resignations of the former system president and Columbia campus chancellor.
Leadership of the system has been in flux since then. University of Missouri System President Mun Choi took over for Interim President Mike Middleton in March, and University of Missouri Interim Chancellor Hank Foley left the state's flagship Columbia campus in May to take over as president at the New York Institute of Technology. Three curators also resigned in the months following protests in Columbia, and two more resigned in January.
Greitens' appointments will mean the nine-member board will be fully staffed but with only one black member: former University of Missouri linebacker and Missouri Agriculture Department deputy director Darryl Chatman. Both Brncic and Sundvold are white.
Brncic would be the second female curator if approved by the Republican-led Senate.
"I am excited to serve as the board of curators and University leadership work to reposition the system for long-term success," she said in a statement sent through an Express Scripts spokesman.
Greitens and his administration have worked with Express Scripts previously during his short time in office. The governor in mid-July announced the St. Louis-based online pharmacy benefits manager will help provide data analytics as part of a state program aimed at tracking those prescribing and filling scripts for opioids. The company also was among a list of "benefactors" for Greitens' inauguration, although he did not disclose how much Express Scripts gave.
The governor also named Askinosie Chocolate Chief Kinship Officer Melissa Gelner, insurance agency owner and agent Eddy Justice, and Kansas Christian College President Delbert Scott to the State Board of Education.