New Board of Regents members confirmed, all are former Brownback donors

Kansas governor Sam Brownback speaks at the Engineering Phase IV groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 25, 2014. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The state Senate Oversight Committee approved three new members to the Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday, including Manhattanite Dennis Mullin, Dr. Daniel J. Thomas, DDS and Dave Murfin, chief executive of Murfin, Inc.

Of the three men, only Thomas holds a postgraduate degree. They join the existing six Board of Regents members, three of whom are attorneys and two former elected officials. Only one member of the board, Blake Flanders, holds a degree in an education related field.

The board is responsible for governing the six state universities, including approval of tuition increases and establishing standards and rules.

According to state records, all three new members contributed to Brownback’s previous campaigns. Mullin donated $1,000 to Gov. Sam Brownback’s reelection campaign in 2013 while Murfin contributed $2,000 to the campaign the same year. The most contributions came from Thomas, a dentist from the Kansas City metro area.

Thomas donated $5,000 to Brownback’s campaign for governor in 2009 and 2010, as well as a $1,950 in-kind contribution listed as food for a reception. And again on Sept. 25, 2013, Thomas gave a $1,945 in-kind contribution for expenses for a reception.

When asked about the appointments, Brownback’s office declined to issue a comment, only offering a press release on the matter.

Mullin, who only holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, is the Chairman and CEO of Steel Pipe and Supply. He serves as a board member for the Kansas State Bank of Manhattan and a member of the Business Advisory Council for the College of Business Administration at K-State.