UM System curator resigns for personal reasons
COLUMBIA - The UM Board of Curators announced Thursday curator Ann Covington resigned for personal reasons, effective immediately, which include the death of her husband and recovery from major surgery.
Covington, from Columbia, was appointed to the board in 2013 by Gov. Jay Nixon.
“It has been a great honor to serve the four campuses of the University of Missouri System in the role of curator, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity,” Covington said. “At the time of my appointment nearly three years ago, I did not anticipate that, in the course of the last eleven months I would lose my husband Charles (McClain), have hip replacement surgery and experience my younger granddaughter’s undergoing major surgery. Given these events in my personal life, I feel I cannot summon any longer the requisite energy for the faithful service that is demanded of a UM System curator, thus must step down.”
Covington represented the 4th Congressional District on the UM Board of Curators. During her time on the board, she served as chair of the finance committee and on the academic, student and external affairs; and compensation and human resources committees. Her term was set to expire Jan. 1, 2019.
“I am confident in the leadership at the UM System and on all four campuses, which makes this difficult decision easier,” she said.
Donald Cupps, board chair, said Covington is one of the most extraordinary people he's known, and her passion for higher education and commitment to MU will be missed.
“Ann’s judgment and vision have contributed so much to the university and it is a great loss to the system that personal circumstances have necessitated her early departure from the board," said Donald Cupps of Cassville. We wish her the best.”
In 1989, Covington made history as the first female judge appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court. She's been a lawyer and judge for more than 30 years. Covington also sat on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, practiced law in Columbia and served as an assistant attorney general under Missouri Attorney General John Ashcroft. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 1963 and a juris doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1977.
Below is the full text of Covington's resignation letter to Gov. Nixon.
Dear Governor Nixon
As you are aware, for some months I have been considering whether it is in the interest of the University of Missouri System that I step down from the Board of Curators. At the time of my appointment fewer than three years ago I did not anticipate that in the course of the last eleven months I would have major surgery, lose my husband, Charles, and experience my younger granddaughter’s undergoing of major heart surgery. Although she appears now to be on the path to good health after two post-surgical setbacks, the absence of Charles continues to weigh heavily.
I was brought up always to undertake and perform every task to which I apply myself in a fully committed way. I believe I have fully performed the job of curator even through the recent events in my personal life and those of the university. Given the events in my personal life this year, however, I feel I cannot continue just now to summon consistently the requisite energy for the faithful service required even under normal circumstances. Current leadership deserves utmost support, and the selection of a permanent president and permanent chancellor will be critically important responsibilities. All of the many responsibilities of a committed curator should be borne by a person you appoint to replace me who will have both the energy and the opportunity to work with the board and other leadership going forward.
It has been a privilege to serve. I submit my resignation with a heavy heart, but I must do so, effectively immediately.
Nixon responded with the following statement:
“I respect Ann’s decision and greatly appreciate her decades of service to the people of Missouri, including her most recent tenure as a member of the Board of Curators,” Gov. Nixon said. “Ann Covington is a trailblazer, a leader and an outstanding Missourian. On behalf of the people of Missouri, I thank Ann for her exemplary service. The First Lady and I wish her all the best as she devotes her full attention to her family during this time.”