Whitman College — Vice President for Finance and Administration

Whitman College seeks a creative, collaborative, and strategic leader to serve as the next Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA). The College is launching the search as Peter Harvey is retiring after serving wonderfully in the role since 1999.

Whitman is distinctively Western in its location and its outlook. Situated in the heart of Walla Walla, Washington – recognized as one of the ten best small towns in America and America’s best wine region – Whitman takes pride in being connected both to this exceptional region and to the world. The highly selective college is home to approximately 1,500 undergraduates from 43 states, one U.S. territory, and 70 nations. Students choose from 52 majors or design their own in partnership with Whitman’s 140+ faculty members who, along with excellent staff, cultivate a diverse, supportive, and vibrant academic community. Whitman’s location fosters engagement with important environmental questions, and experiences like “Semester in the West,” environmental studies classes, connections with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and outdoor education programs link students’ classroom learning to the land. Proximity to Seattle and Portland provides an abundance of internship and career opportunities, including in the region’s growing tech sector.

For fiscal year 2022-23, the College’s total operating budget is $85M, including auxiliary activities. Whitman has one of the largest liberal arts college endowments in the west, with approximately $700 million in endowment and investment assets, including over 20,000 acres of farm land. The College holds a modest $69 million in long-term debt, and in 2021, Moody’s Investors affirmed Whitman’s Aa3 long-term bond rating with a stable outlook. The College has a managed its physical spaces very thoughtfully and has a regular life-cycle program for all buildings and no deferred maintenance. The campus community participated in a Financial Sustainability Review in 2020-21 to make strategic and difficult financial choices to reduce the annual budget by four percent. By implementing these prudent cost-savings, the College has created more flexibility to invest in its strategic priorities to increase resilience for the future.

Reporting to President Sarah Bolton, the VPFA serves as a critical member of her senior team and oversees the Business Office; Conferences, Events, and Scheduling; Environmental Health and Safety; Human Resources; and the Physical Plant. Approximately 90 staff comprise these departments, and the VPFA’s direct reports include the Controller, Manager of Investment, Director of Human Resources, Director of Facilities, and Executive Assistant. The ideal candidate will bring strategic leadership, organizational, management, and interpersonal skills, ideally developed in a higher education setting, and will be effective in building and leading diverse teams. They will also possess experience developing collaborative relationships across multiple constituencies and be able to comfortably communicate regarding financial and operational matters across the campus and to the Board of Trustees. Furthermore, strong candidates will demonstrate working knowledge of finance, accounting, and human resources-related laws and regulatory standards, as well as skills in strategic budgeting, long-term financial planning, and risk management. All members of the senior team collaborate to advance the College’s strategic priorities, including access, affordability, curricular innovation, diversity, equity, inclusion, making the most of Whitman’s unique location, and advancing students’ opportunities for life after graduation. The successful candidate will uphold these goals and also play an important role in strategic planning toward new directions.  

For best consideration, please send all nominations and applications, which should consist of a CV/résumé and letter of interest, to:

Shelly Weiss Storbeck, Global Education Practice Lead and Managing Director
Anne Koellhoffer, Senior Associate
Storbeck Search
WhitmanVPFA@storbecksearch.com 

Whitman College is building a diverse academic community of highly qualified students, faculty, and staff. Diversity is fundamentally important to the character and mission of Whitman College. Diversity enriches our community and enhances intellectual and personal growth.

The College provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, sex, gender, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

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