News, University News

University names Michael White CFO, VP

Former Harvard Medical School CFO values link between finance, academics

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, January 27, 2020

The University selected Michael White as its CFO and vice president for his experience in navigating academic research institutions.

Michael White, former chief financial officer of Harvard Medical School, will begin his tenure as chief financial officer and vice president of the University today.

White will replace former treasurer and CFO Jay Calhoun. In his new position, White will work beside Provost Richard Locke P’18 and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Barbara Chernow in “every aspect of the University’s budget, finance and planning portfolio,” Locke wrote in an email to The Herald.

White worked for Boston University from 1995 to 2015, eventually rising to the position of associate dean for financial operations at Boston University Medical School. He then joined Harvard Medical School as CFO in 2016.

White’s responsibilities will include advising on how to diversify revenue in order to reduce reliance on student tuition, effectively apportioning resources to achieve University goals and advancing financial management systems and policies, Locke wrote.

Directing the University’s financial planning requires a “deep expertise and a commitment to our mission as a leading teaching and research university,” Chernow wrote in an email to The Herald. “Michael White brings to Brown these qualifications and more,” she added.

The University conducted a nationwide search before selecting White, who was chosen for his experience “in navigating large, complex academic research institutions,” Locke wrote.

Because of White’s previous experience working in academics, he is well-versed in the challenges of managing the finances of large research universities. “There’s a lot of pressure on the cost of higher education,” White said. “I think it’s critically important to support fundraising efforts, to support scholarships for students,” he added.

White hopes to use his financial background in education to support students and faculty in their learning and research. Academic institutions feature a less “corporate mentality,” White said. “I think you really need to understand what the faculty members are trying to achieve, what the students are trying to achieve, and really factor that into your decision-making,” he added.

White also appreciates the strategic plan and goals laid out by President Christina Paxson P’19 in her ten-year plan, “Building on Distinction,” to promote growth and financial stability within the University.“I like coming into an organization that has a plan and knows where it wants to go,” White said. “I think it would be incredibly gratifying for me to help implement that plan for Brown.”

White is particularly fond of medical school and research communities. He is especially interested in working with the Alpert Medical School because he gets an “immense sense of gratification (from) seeing the researchers and the physicians and the scientists achieve their goals,” he said.

White distinguished himself to the University through his appreciation of the “importance and interconnectedness” of finance and academics, Locke wrote. CFO “is a big job, which influences every aspect of the University.”

“Finance touches every part of an organization,” White said. He likes knowing that he’s “in the background making all those things happen.”

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