Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller:
Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, seeks a progressive and collaborative leader for the position of Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller (AVP). Reporting to the Vice President, Administration and Finance, the AVP will be a proven financial professional with strong and transparent communication skills and the ability to build interpersonal relationships, as well as lead and mentor a talented staff of twelve. The AVP serves as a core member of the Administration and Finance team and is an advisor to the College’s Trustees, President, Officers, and the Faculty Committee on Budget and Finance on various accounting, financial, and budgetary issues.
Hamilton College is a private, liberal arts college located in the village of Clinton, New York, in the beautiful Mohawk Valley in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Hamilton’s 1,350-acre campus is situated on a hilltop overlooking the picturesque village of Clinton. The college is home to 1850 students offering the Bachelor of Arts degree in over 50 areas of concentration. The college’s namesake is Alexander Hamilton, U.S. statesman, first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and member of the first Board of Trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy.
Originally founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, an all boys’ school, Hamilton College received its charter from the regents of the State University of New York in 1812. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the college built out a classic, restrained, and beautiful campus, which endures to this day. The college has been coeducational since 1978, when it merged with its sister school Kirkland College; Kirkland’s campus was built in the 1970’s.
Over the last 50 years, Hamilton’s strategic choices have propelled it into the first rank of liberal arts colleges, forging a distinctive and vital identity from its long history. The college takes seriously its motto, “Know Thyself.” It offers students what few places do: the promise of discovery and the rare opportunity to become the architects of their own intellectual development in an open curriculum. Hamilton asks students to ally their passion to their curiosity and to make learning a lifelong pursuit. It appeals to a diverse, strong, intellectually motivated and increasingly self-directed student body. It attracts a faculty of vibrantly engaged scholars who are enthusiastically committed to teaching. Hamilton has built a remarkable array of facilities and programs that sustain one of the broadest ranges of intellectual and artistic inquiry available on a small liberal arts college campus.
The college is distinguished by an outstanding faculty and exceptionally able administrators dedicated to student learning, scholarship, interdisciplinary learning, and innovative academic programs. Students and alumni speak with deep and genuine affection for Hamilton, particularly about the close, meaningful relationships, and collaborations they have with academic advisors and faculty members. Hamilton has the equivalent of 190 full-time faculty members, of whom 120 are tenured, giving it a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1.
There are more than 200 organizations and clubs for students focused on community service, culture, music, athletics, politics, religion, and social activities. Most students at the college tend to become involved in multiple activities outside their classes. Academic departments and student organizations sponsor speakers and programs on a regular basis. In 2011, the college established the Days-Massolo Center, a vibrant, multicultural center to further support student engagement and success around issues of difference.
The demographic composition of Hamilton’s student body continued to change when the college went need-blind in 2010. Today, approximately half of the student body receives need-based financial aid and the average award is approximately $41,300. In addition to socioeconomic diversity, every other demographic has changed as well. Women now comprise slightly more than 50 percent of the College’s students. More than one quarter of the student body consists of U.S. students of color or international citizens, and Hamilton enrolls students from 45 states and 47 countries. Approximately 15 percent of each entering class are first generation college students.
As a member of NESCAC, the College encourages participation in athletics, and roughly one-third of its students are varsity scholar-athletes, excelling both in the classroom and on the field.
Leadership at Hamilton College:
President David Wippman
President David Wippman began his tenure as Hamilton’s 20th President on July 1, 2016. A recognized authority in international law, he has taught public international law, international criminal law, international human rights and ethnic conflict. Previously, Wippman was dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, a professor and associate dean at Cornell Law School, and served as vice provost for international relations at Cornell University. He took a year away from Cornell to serve as a director in the National Security Council’s Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs, where he worked on war crimes issues, the International Criminal Court, economic sanctions and U.N. political issues.
Before joining Cornell, Wippman practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C., with a focus on international arbitration, political consulting on public and private international law issues, and representation of developing countries in litigation.
Karen Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Karen Leach has served as Vice President, Administration and Finance at Hamilton College and has been a member of the College’s senior leadership team since 2001. She has been a significant contributor to advancing the mission and strategic direction of the College and has provided leadership, oversight, and stewardship for all aspects of the College’s financial and administrative resources. She serves as a strategic advisor to the president and her senior staff colleagues and recommends financial and administrative objectives, policies, programs, and practices that ensure a sound financial and administrative structure for the College. Her duties include oversight, management and development of the College’s budget, business and purchasing services, investment functions, facilities, human resources, and environmental health, safety and sustainability.
Prior to working at Hamilton, she was at Colgate University for sixteen years where she was first Associate Provost and then Chief Information Officer with oversight for all information technology functions. Early in her career, Karen worked for Bristol Myers where she performed efficiency studies in quality control operations in Syracuse, New York and Puerto Rico.
Reporting directly to the Vice President of Administration and Finance, the AVP will be responsible for financial reporting, tax compliance, payroll, accounts payable, and student accounts. S/he monitors a $185 million annual operating budget involving approximately 90 individual departments and supervisors. The ideal candidate will be a collaborative leader who will continually strive for excellence in business functions and service to all of its varied constituencies.
Key primary responsibilities and opportunities for the Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller include:
- Plan, develop, organize, implement, direct, and evaluate the organization’s fiscal functions. Ensure timely and accurate budget analysis and financial reporting for senior leaders, the VPA&F, Board of Trustees, and state and federal regulators;
- Plan, prepare, supervise, and present the College’s financial statements and supporting materials for the annual audit;
- Develop, implement, and enforce policies and procedures of the organization through accounting systems that will improve the overall financial operation and effectiveness of the College;
- Work with the campus community, both within established committees and beyond, to build trust and credibility, and to support transparent and collaborative teamwork regarding the College’s finances and operations;
- Evaluate the structure and responsibilities of the finance team; plan for continual improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the group as well as provide individuals with professional and personal growth opportunities;
- Drive and promote innovation, collaboration, and partnerships across the college and with external constituencies, as needed and in particular to achieve effective cost savings; and
- Work closely with colleagues across campus to ensure that the College is actively working to achieve the goals and mission of the College.
The ideal candidate will be a proven financial leader with progressive accounting experience related to fiscal affairs. The AVP will have a successful record of financial management within higher education, healthcare, consulting, or in a similar non-profit environment.
The best candidates will demonstrate evidence of many of the following qualities:
- Bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field and at least seven years of administrative experience in accounting and financial management;
- The ability to lead with a decisive, consultative, and hands-on leadership style, foster open communications, and proactively build positive relationships across campus and with diverse constituencies;
- A track record of successfully hiring, developing, managing, and mentoring a large staff;
- A team player who fosters collaboration within the organization, and has a strong commitment to excellent customer service;
- Brings enthusiasm for the job with a customer service approach and be willing to work within a team environment;
- Well-organized and self-directed individual who exhibits a high level of integrity that inspires trust and confidence;
- An intelligent and articulate individual who can relate to people at all levels of an organization; be a team player, and has the ability to operate with transparency;
- Adept at communicating financial information to senior leaders, and board members, as well as colleagues across the campus who do not have a finance background;
- Proven experience working with external and internal auditors, consultants, vendors, and students and a commitment to professional development by way of external industry organizations such as EACUBO and NACUBO;
- Experience using technology to support and enhance business services while juggling multiple projects and priorities, coupled with a strong knowledge of accounting principles and best practices, are required;
- Preference will be given to those with an MBA degree or CPA certificate.
Applicants should submit a resume and letter discussing their interest in the position as well as their accomplishments in relationship to the listed responsibilities and qualifications. Express interest here.
Background checks will be performed on all final candidates. Applications and nominations should be sent to:
Andy Evans and Mo Lashendock
Koya Leadership Partners
Hamilton College is a coeducational, residential, liberal arts college whose members value and seek intellectual and cultural diversity. The College encourages respect for political, religious, ethnic, racial, physical, generational, intellectual, sexual and affectional differences. Such respect promotes free and open inquiry, independent thought and mutual understanding.
About Koya Leadership Partners:
Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, educational institutions, and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit http://www.koyapartners.com.