Organization: Xavier University

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Express Interest

Vice President Financial Administration and Chief Business Officer:

Xavier University, a Jesuit Catholic university, seeks a collaborative, strategic, transparent communicator as its next Vice President for Financial Administration (VPFA) and Chief Business Officer (CBO). Founded in 1831, Xavier is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation and one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities nationwide. Living out the University’s motto “all for one and one for all,” Xavier is a community that comes together in the spirit of St. Ignatius, to learn together, serve together, and succeed in changing the world together. The VPFA/CBO reports directly to the President and is responsible for a combination of financial and administrative functions that serve the academic mission of the University. The VPFA/CBO serves as the chief financial officer and as a strategist, catalyst, financial operator, and steward for the financial well-being and related activities of the University. This includes director responsibility for finance, treasury, investment and debt, credit and credit rating agencies, accounting, forecasting, strategic planning, contract/deal analysis and negotiations, investor relationships and partnerships, compliance, and private and institutional financing. In addition, the VPFA/CBO leads and manages the administrative functions of Physical Plant and Auxiliary Services. Finally, this leadership position advances and supports the University’s Jesuit and academic mission through collaborative engagement with other senior executives.

Xavier University:

Xavier University, originally named the Athenaeum College, was established in 1831 and constituted the first Catholic institution of higher learning in the Northwest Territory. In 1840, Bishop John Baptist Purcell asked the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) to take control of the school and the Jesuits changed the name to St. Xavier College to reflect the school’s patron saint. In 1919, St. Xavier College was moved from its original location in downtown Cincinnati to its present location on the east side of the city. It became Xavier University in 1930. The University was founded as an all-male institution, but in 1969 became fully coeducational. In 1980, the University acquired Edgecliff College, another Catholic college in Cincinnati. The programs at Edgecliff College were integrated with those at the University, and, by 1987, the faculty, staff, and students were moved into the enlarged University campus. The Edgecliff College campus property was sold by the University in 1987.

Stemming from centuries of Jesuit commitment to educate the whole person, Xavier has a rich history and heritage. As Jesuit schools have educated society’s leaders for over 450 years, Xavier’s Jesuit Catholic tradition of academic excellence inspires students to think and communicate effectively, to foster a love of lifelong learning, to serve others, and to find God in all things. Following a proven method first developed by Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, each student learns to think critically, reflect, and act for the good of society.

Xavier’s mission, reaffirmed by the Board at the December 2017 meeting, is as follows:

Xavier is a Jesuit Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts tradition.   Our mission is to educate each student intellectually, morally, and spiritually.  We create learning opportunities through rigorous academic and professional programs integrated with co-curricular engagement.  In an inclusive environment of open and free inquiry, we prepare students for a world that is increasingly diverse, complex and interdependent.  Driven by our commitment to educating the whole person, promoting the common good, and serving others, the Xavier community challenges and supports all our members as we cultivate lives of reflection, compassion and informed action.

The Jesuit spirituality and the commitment to service for others is an integral part of the Xavier experience. The Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice provides support for students as they deepen their spiritual lives, pursue justice, and promote pluralism.  With a student body representing more than 15 different religious backgrounds, the Center challenges and supports Xavier’s diverse constituents as they pursue these complimentary ends. Inspired by Ignatian spirituality and Catholic Social Teaching, the Center is built on an invitation to find God in all things and the principles of solidarity and common good.

The Center for Mission and Identity similarly engages faculty and staff in understanding Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education as the foundation of the University’s mission. The Center develops programs that help integrate Xavier’s mission into the work of faculty and staff, provides digital and print resources, facilitates participation in national and consortium-based mission initiatives, and is the home of the Ruth J. and Robert A. Conway Institute for Jesuit Education.

The University is home to three colleges, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Professional Sciences, and the Williams College of Business.  Enrollment in fall of 2017 was just over 6500 with over 4600 undergraduate students.  Xavier’s unique core curriculum and liberal arts education prepare students for future success in a rapidly evolving work environment.  True to the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person, learning at Xavier takes place outside of the classroom as well as inside and much emphasis is placed on service to others – 80,000 hours of service are performed each year by students. Experiential learning and internships are also an integral part of the Xavier experience and 100 percent of Xavier students have access to professional mentors, many of whom work in one of the nine Fortune 500 companies in the Cincinnati area. Xavier was ranked 5th in the Midwest Regional Universities category in the just-released 2018 edition of U.S. News Best College rankings.

The University community includes approximately 1005 full-time and part-time continuing employees. The University has a full-time faculty of 357; of this number, 254 are tenured or tenure-track faculty. Of the tenured and tenure-track faculty, 49 percent are female; 97 percent of full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty (excluding administrators who hold faculty rank) hold the doctoral degree or the equivalent terminal degree. The student-faculty ratio is currently 11:1.

Under the leadership of Fr. Michael J. Graham, S.J., the University has seen a 40 percent growth in the student body. From the first day of Manresa (the unique new-student orientation program) to receiving the diploma that declares the graduate a Musketeer for life— the Xavier student experience is like no other. Xavier students are motivated—forming more than 160 clubs: everything from fencing to football, theater to community service and since 2001, a student-run Alternative Breaks program that has grown from about 30 students setting out on three impromptu-organized trips to 21 trips involving over 260 students. Most of all, the students are loyal Musketeers. The X-treme Fans Organization, the largest single club on campus, is committed to enhancing the student body’s experience at intercollegiate athletic events on and off campus. Another primary goal of X-treme Fans is to support student-athletes by getting the Xavier student body engaged at sporting events. That effort, by any measure, has been a resounding success.

Currently, XU offers 18 NCAA Division I sports teams in the Big East Conference as well as club and intramural sports. The Princeton Review recently named Xavier as one of the top 20 schools with the most school spirit. Forbes recently ranked the basketball program the 18th most valuable in the country.

Additionally, the success of Xavier in The Big East has exponentially grown awareness of the University in new major metropolitan markets. Beyond athletic success, Xavier has long ranked among the nation’s top Division I schools in terms of academic success. For example, since 1985, Xavier has graduated all of its senior men’s basketball players. But perhaps the most impressive “final score” is that 91 percent of seniors rated their experience at Xavier as good or excellent.

Xavier’s physical campus has undergone a dramatic change since 2000. New construction completed since 2000 includes the Cintas Center, which houses a 10,250-seat multipurpose arena, conference and banquet facilities, and athletic offices; the Gallagher Student Center; the Hoff Academic Quad which consists of a Central Utility Plant, Conaton Learning Commons, and Smith Hall, the home of Williams College of Business; Bishop Fenwick Place, which includes a suite-style student residence hall, the University’s central dining facility, and the Center for Mission and Identity. In addition, Alter Hall, Xavier’s primary classroom building, was rebuilt and reopened in 2015. The Alter Hall project completed all aspects of the 2005 Campus Master Plan for the core of campus.

In fall 2014, University Station, a $54 million mixed-use development, opened and brought new retail, commercial office space, and a 177-unit housing development adjacent to the University’s campus. The office space is 100 percent leased to TriHealth (an Ohio non-profit corporation which is the region’s largest and most comprehensive healthcare provider and whose mission is to promote and provide exceptional healthcare and preventative initiatives, education, research, and community outreach activities) and CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services. Both offer opportunities for collaboration with Xavier students, faculty and staff, and provide services and job opportunities for the surrounding neighborhood. The University’s “All for One” bookstore, full-service Starbucks, Graeter’s ice cream and other tenants bring new and easy access to goods and services not previously available to the community. This development is entirely funded and managed by external parties.

In January 2018, Xavier and TriHealth will break ground on their next collaborative venture as construction of the 150,000 square-foot Health United Building (HUB) will begin. The HUB will be a campus fitness and recreation center, a comprehensive physical and mental health-care center for students, and will house up to five health-related academic programs in the College of Professional Sciences, including the School of Nursing and the departments of Occupational Therapy, Health Services Administration, Radiologic Technology, and Sport Studies.

University Leadership

Xavier’s current President, Fr. Michael J. Graham, S.J. is the 34th Jesuit president of the University and was appointed to the position in January 2001. Fr. Graham first joined the University as an Assistant Professor of History for the 1984-85 academic year. After earning a Master of Divinity from the Weston School of Theology in 1988, he returned to the University faculty in 1989. He served as Vice President for University Relations and in 1999 was appointed Executive Assistant to the President of the University to work on a number of special projects that allowed him to become familiar with a broad range of University activities. Fr. Graham earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Michigan in 1983. He also has degrees in divinity, philosophy and psychology. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Fr. Graham entered the Society of Jesus in 1978 and was ordained a priest in 1988.

Cincinnati, OH

Known as “The Queen City”, Cincinnati is a city on the rise with Forbes bestowing accolades as the “Most Affordable City in America” (#5), a “City for Emerging Downtowns” (#8) and “Safest City in the United States” (#9).  Home to the two major sports teams, the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals and Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, the teams’ two new stadiums within 10 miles of campus have helped revitalize the riverfront community.  Cincinnati is also home to FC Cincinnati, a United Soccer League club that has seen unprecedented success since its inaugural 2015 season.   The vibrant arts community is also a draw for many residents with the Cincinnati Art Museum perched at Eden Park, boasting beautiful vistas and free admission. The Cincinnati Pops, Cincinnati Opera, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra receive international accolades and perform free concerts in the refurbished city parks not far from Xavier’s campus, as well as in the 140-year old and recently refurbished Music Hall. Metro bus‑stops right next to Xavier’s campus allow transportation to these downtown destinations.

The Position:

The VPFA/CBO serves as the chief financial officer of the University and works closely and collaboratively with University leaders with emphasis on the President and Provost. The VPFA/CBO reports directly to the President and will lead strategic and long-term financial planning that supports and advances the University’s mission. The VPFA/CBO will lead the Financial Administration Department and will directly supervise the Associate VP for Planning and Budgets, Executive Assistant, Controller, Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services, Vice President for Facilities, Bursar, Business and Pricing Analyst, Director of Treasury Operations, and the Director of Purchasing. The VPFA/CBO is a member of the President’s Direct Report (DR) Team with the Provost, Vice President for Risk Management, General Counsel, Administrative Vice President, Vice President for University Relations, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, the Vice President for Mission and Identity, and the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.   In addition, VPFA/CBO is a member of the President’s Cabinet and the President’s Advisory Council. The VPFA/CBO staffs the Audit and Risk Management Committee and the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees. The VPFA/CBO co-chairs the University Planning and Resourcing Council (UPRC) with the Provost; this seven-member council is charged with coordinating and integrating the development and execution of strategic initiatives university-wide. The VPFA/CBO will lead a team of 120 individuals and have responsibility for a $174M University budget and a $50M Department budget. The endowment for Xavier as of June 30, 2017 was $169.3M.

The VPFA/CBO provides direct oversight and guidance for accounting, tax, payroll, accounts payable and financial reporting functions, and works with the Controller to foster responsible use of the University’s financial resources by systematically improving the overall control environment, internal controls, and operational efficiencies. VPFA/CBO provides direct oversight and guidance for all Bursar operations including: student billing and collections, management of payment plans, cashier functions, and regulatory requirements. The VPFA/CBO is responsible for the establishment of systems, policies, and procedures as needed for compliance with financial regulations and standards such as the Internal Revenue Code provisions, GAAP, UPMIFA, Uniform Principal and Income Act, 403(b) Plan Sponsor requirements, and more. VPFA/CBO oversees the accurate and timely reporting of historical financial information in compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles so as to inform decisions internally for Xavier and externally by analysts and creditors and is responsible for the completion of independent audits. The VPFA/CBO provides oversight and guidance for centralized purchasing processes and systems, oversees the development and implementation of contract authorization policies/procedures and financial signatory policies for disbursements, and reviews financial and strategic aspects of University transactions, including real estate transactions, contracts, and leases.

The Opportunity:

The next VPFA/CBO of Xavier will have the opportunity to foster the finances and physical assets of an institution on an upward trajectory, and collaborate in the development of implementation of agreed strategic initiatives.  The currently serving interim VPFA/CBO says, “I wish I would have found Xavier 10 years ago.” Xavier continues to emerge from some challenging financial times and is currently in strong financial condition. Xavier is a tuition-dependent institution and is in the enviable position of experiencing record numbers of applications, increased enrollments, and a decreased discount rate. The VPFA/CBO can expect to focus on the following:

Foster a Culture of Partnership and Transparent Communication – Above all else, the VPFA/CBO will have the opportunity to advance and support the University’s Jesuit and academic mission through collaborative engagement across the institution. The VPFA/CBO will work with the Provost and UPRC on the development, communication, and implementation of the annual budget and the development of multi-year operating and capital budget plans designed to align resources to University priorities. Under the principles of shared governance, the VPFA/CBO will meet and collaborate with the Faculty Committee and Staff Advisory Committee so as to identify their needs and provide advice on a full range of business solutions and the financial implications of activities. The VPFA/CBO will have the privilege to lead large groups in a respectful and transparent manner in order to strategically drive change to meet established university objectives and make improvements in processes and procedures. Finally, the VPFA/CBO will have the opportunity to hire, retain, and develop diverse employees who are professional, accomplished, exceptionally qualified and committed to the mission and identity, vision, and values of the University.

Long-Range, Strategic, and Collaborative Planning – The VPFA/CBO will need to be key leader and partner in establishing holistic and integrative planning at Xavier. Current planning processes (strategic, academic, financial, and diversity) need focus and integration. The VPFA/CBO will partner most closely with the Provost (not to the exclusion of others) in driving integrative planning through transparent and collaborative processes. The VPFA/CBO will also deliver a new managerial accounting system as one part of a multidimensional approach to understanding the health of academic programs. More generally, the VPFA/CBO will provide leadership to the University’s financial future by applying economic strategy and forecasting and an awareness of Xavier’s business model, identity, and brand to identify and lead execution of strategies and change that strengthen the University.

Oversight of University Physical Assets – Xavier’s campus has been transformed in recent years and the transformation continues. The VPFA/CBO oversees Physical Plant and Facilities and in the coming years the VPFA/CBO will provide oversight and support for the development of the HUB. Support will include working closely with TriHealth in establishing proper accounting treatment through the Xavier University Student Health and Wellness Center Corporation – an Ohio non-profit corporation with TriHealth and Xavier as sole members which will own the HUB.

Strategic Partner in Revenue Generation – Xavier is a tuition dependent institution. As such, the VPFA will need to be a creative and reliable partner to the Provost, VP for Enrollment Management and Student Success, and the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion in developing strategies to meet enrollment and retention objectives. The VPFA/CBO will also partner with the VP for University Relations, the Assistant Vice President of Auxiliary Services, and the Administrative VP in maintaining, growing, and developing additional revenue sources. Finally, as part of his/her portfolio of direct responsibility the VPFA/CBO will have the opportunity to develop strategy and oversee the execution of the University’s capital structure, determining the mix of investments, debt, and internal financing, taking into consideration and managing the University’s risk, liquidity, and credit ratings. VPFA/CBO will negotiate the structure and procurement of debt and interest rate swaps and maintain financial covenants, will invest the University’s money, both short term and long-term, ensure proper controls over the University’s endowment operations and oversee cash flow management.

Qualifications and Experience:

The successful candidate will be a leader with a strategic focus and a collegial and transparent style.  The VPFA/CBO will be a proven financial leader with a minimum of ten years of senior level experience leading financial and administrative functions in complex organizations. The successful candidate will be a savvy and insightful partner, and will be committed to the values and goals of a Jesuit education. Superb communication and collaboration skills are paramount.

In addition, the successful candidate will possess many of the following abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • An excellent record of executive-level and practitioner-level management/leadership in institution-wide strategic planning, financial planning, and change management;
  • Knowledge of a broad range of complex strategic, financial, and operations principles and practices;
  • Technical acumen in strategic financial planning; budget development and management; fund accounting principles; endowment spending, capital structure, debt financing, and financial risk management;
  • Experience developing, refining, and articulating comprehensible financial data, fiscal policies, procedures, and programs to multiple audiences;
  • Demonstrated approachability and a style that conveys and engenders respect, openness, and thoughtful discourse;
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion and an ability to connect with others and cultivate relationships based on mutual trust and respect;
  • Excellent listening skills and extraordinary interpersonal skills combined with a commitment to broad consultation and openness to multiple views and perspectives;
  • Experience in supporting governing boards, and in staffing committees or subgroups on matters of a financial, capital investment, or administrative nature;
  • A record of attracting, mentoring and retaining high-quality talent and building collaborative teams; and
  • A bachelor’s degree is required, an MBA or related master’s degree preferred, as is the CPA or CMA designation.


Koya Leadership Partners is assisting Xavier University with this hire. This search is being led by:

Liz Neumann, Managing Director
Tom Phillips, Principal

Nominations and applications, including a detailed letter of interest, qualifications, and a current curriculum vitae, should be submitted here.