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Wayne Goode is a Big Man on Campus twice over

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 7, 2009 -Former Sen. Wayne Goode is most likely the first appointee to the University of Missouri's Board of Curators to already be a Big Man On Campus -- with his own bronze bust gracing the grounds.

Still, the man deemed the de facto founder of the system's St.Louis site said Tuesday that he expects his new post overseeing the entire University of Missouri network to be "a learning experience," especially during the current trying economic times.

Goode, 71, acknowledged in an interview that he had applied for and sought the curator appointment, which was granted Tuesday by Gov. Jay Nixon, a former colleague in the state Senate. Despite his low-key demeanor, Goode long has been known for his passion for the university where he, his wife and his son graduated.

"This is an important board and it's an honor to serve on that board," Goode said. One of Nixon's top aides called Goode about two weeks ago, and invited him to meet with Nixon last week, where Goode was told of his selection.

Goode, a veteran Democrat from Normandy who went to Mizzou, will bring to the university a lot of historical knowledge that has been lost in the state Capitol since the Legislature's term limits kicked into effect in the past 10 years.

Goode served 42 years in the Legislature, much of it in the state Senate, before leaving in 2005.

Early in his lawmaking tenure, which began in 1963, he crafted the legislation that allowed the university to acquire land on the grounds of the old Bellerive golf course.

That move led to the birth of the UMSL campus, and largely explains the bronze statue of Goode erected on the grounds in 2006.

Goode also is famed for his fiscal prowess; in the Legislature, he long was known as the unofficial budget brain who seemed to readily know where every state dime was saved or lost. Among other things, he helped craft the state's complicated "foundation formula" that provides public-school funding.

Goode's knowledge of numbers will likely be a sought-after attribute on the board, as he joins other curators faced with financial pressures from the Legislature, students and the public.

He said that the university system actually fared better than he expected this year, as the Legislature and Nixon grappled with sharp declines in state income. Goode suspects that the short-term financial future for the state and the university won't be much brighter.

"There's several more tough budget years ahead of us," Goode said, adding that one of his chief objectives will be to avoid major budget cuts.

He noted that the University of Missouri's finances rely less on the state, which now provides less than half of the university's operating budget. The rest comes from foundations, federal grants, donors and student tuition.

Goode's appointment will require Senate confirmation, but he will begin serving immediately as an interim replacement to Cheryl Walker, one of three curators whose terms expired in January. Nixon earlier named Don M. Downing, a lawyer from Webster Groves. Goode's appointment Tuesday was accompanied by that of David Bradley, a publisher from St. Joseph, Mo.

Goode already serves on several other notable boards, including the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Missouri Historical Society and the L-A-D Foundation, which oversees about 146,000 largely wooded acres in southern Missouri that had been acquired by environmentalist Leo Drey to promote sustainable land management.

Goode still finds time to ride his bike and play tennis three times a week.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.