The Vassar College Board of Trustees has announced that Robert A. Walton, currently the chief executive officer of the Claremont University Consortium, will be the college’s new vice president for finance and administration. Walton has held his current post since 2007 and combines his higher education leadership with experience as an innovator and executive at information and library technology companies. He will replace current vice president Elizabeth Eismeier, who has served in the position since 2001.
President Catharine Hill, chair of the search committee, describes Walton as “a seasoned and collaborative leader with deep knowledge of the operations of some of the finest colleges in the country. His considerable professional accomplishments inside and outside higher education span critical areas of expertise for Vassar, and I’m confident that colleagues throughout the college will enjoy working with him.”
The Claremont University Consortium (CUC), located outside Los Angeles, CA, employs more than 350 staff members who provide shared institutional support services for the 6,500 students, and 2,200 faculty and staff at the seven distinguished and adjoining Claremont institutions (Pomona College, Claremont Graduate University, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, and the Keck Graduate Institute for Applied Life Sciences). As the CUC’s chief executive, Walton oversees 28 shared institutional services, ranging from consolidated budgeting for the colleges to the operation of a shared central library system. The consortium coordinates and provides support for all business services, human resources, payroll, IT services, audit, facilities management, emergency management and disaster planning, campus safety, risk management, and student services.
From 1999-2007 Walton was the chief financial and business officer for the College of Wooster, a private national liberal arts college in Wooster, OH. As the principal campus operating officer Walton was responsible for managing all of the college’s non-academic services and functions. While there he was also an adjunct professor in the Economics Department and taught the core course on financial accounting.
Walton earned his bachelor’s of science from the University of Texas at Austin, and after completing a master’s in library and information science there in 1980, he held a series of administrative posts through 1989 with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, eventually directing its Data Processing and Technology Center. For several years during this period, he was also an adjunct professor and lecturer at the University of Texas Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Texas Women’s University.
Beginning in 1986, Walton founded and served as president of Walton Bridge Consulting, a strategic library planning and information technology management company specializing in technology procurement and consulting services. From 1990-1992, he was president of the library technology company CLSI, Inc., and successfully brought about its operational restructuring. For the following seven years he was the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Innovative Interfaces, a software engineering and IT service corporation for universities and municipal governments worldwide.
More than 20,000 participants have attended the hundreds of professional workshops Walton has presented since 1982 on such topics as library planning and technology management, contract negotiations, and budgeting. He has also served as a director on several non-profit and corporate boards and been closely involved in Chinese higher educational initiatives, including consulting for the Shenzhen city government on educational planning.
About the Vice President for Finance and Administration
The vice president is the chief financial officer of Vassar College and a member of the president’s senior administrative team. Reporting to the president and the Board of Trustees, the vice president oversees Vassar’s financial and business operations including financial planning, budget development and control, investments, personnel services, physical plant administration, new construction, risk management, purchasing, real estate management, and various service operations such as the campus bookstore. Reporting to the vice president are the associate vice president and director of investments, the controller, the director of budget and planning, the executive director of buildings and grounds services, and the associate vice president for human resources. Vassar broke ground this winter on an ambitious $125 million science center building and renovation project, and the new vice president will play a key role in ensuring the successful on-budget, on-time completion of this important project.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.