Benedictine College Alumnus Appointed to Ferguson Commission

Benedictine Alumnus Appointed to Ferguson Commission

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed a unique task force to promote positive changes in Ferguson, MO, following racial unrest in the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown. Among those appointed to the Ferguson Commission is Pat Sly, a St. Louis area business leader and a Benedictine College alumnus from 1972.  Nixon swore in the 16 members on November 18 and charged them with studying the underlying issues raised by events in Ferguson and issuing a report with specific policy recommendations no later than September 15, 2015.

“The members of the Ferguson Commission are tough, they are smart, they are empowered, and they are independent,” Nixon said. “Their most important work will not be what is written on sheets of paper or on a website. Their most important work will be the changes we see in our institutions and our work places, in our communities and in our interactions with one another. Change of this magnitude is hard; but maintaining the status quo is simply not acceptable.”

Under the governor’s executive order, the Ferguson Commission will be responsible for issuing a report with policy recommendations in the following areas: citizen-law enforcement interaction and relations; racial and ethnic relations; municipal government organization and the municipal court system; and disparities in areas including education, economic opportunity, housing, transportation, health care, child care, business ownership, and family and community stability.

“I am executive vice president of Emerson, which has been located in Ferguson for over 70 years, and have oversight of all of our community relations and charitable efforts,” said Sly. “With the help of my colleagues at Emerson, I put together our company’s Ferguson initiatives that will invest over $5 million to support the community. I serve on numerous boards, including the Urban League Board and the Regional Chamber, as well as several other non-profit boards. I want to be part of the Ferguson Commission to help support and heal the community, and to represent Emerson, which is committed to supporting our home town.”

Sly manages the Emerson Charitable Trust and the company’s community relations activities. He began his career at Emerson in 1980 as national sales manager for power tools and subsequently held several positions of increasing responsibility with the company, including executive vice president for sales and marketing.

He currently serves as the vice chair of the Saint Louis University Board of Trustees and the national board of directors for Boys Hope Girls Hope. He is a board member of the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation and is former chair and current board member of the Nine Network of Public Media (PBS). He is also a member of the boards of directors of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

The Commission has until September 15, 2015 to issue its report, but the Governor made clear that he would welcome any interim recommendations for positive steps that can be taken prior to the completion of its final report. More information is available on the Ferguson Commission’s website,

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.