Stephen Mackey named Vice President for Finance and Administration

Joe Zerilli, Campus Editor

After a search committee led by Provost Britt Rios-Ellis submitted finalists for the position, President Ora Pescovitz appointed Stephen W. Mackey as Oakland University’s new vice president for finance and administration.

He will be taking over for Jim Hargett, associate vice president and controller, who served as the interim vice president for finance and administration.

Rios-Ellis said the committee included an assistant, associate and full professor, as well as a diverse range of members in terms of representation, such as diversity, equity and inclusion — as well as gender.

“That was something — that we’re really trying to make sure that we have all of those diverse voices together to make the best decisions,” Rios-Ellis said.

Mackey comes from California State University (CSU), Monterey Bay where he served as the associate vice president of finance. One of the things which stood out to the search committee was Mackey’s work at CSU during COVID-19.

Mackey also has other university experience, having worked at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the University of Miami and the USC Clinical Research Organization. He served as the vice dean for administration and finance, director of research policy and strategic planning and the executive director, respectively.

Mackey is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force of 12 years whose service and mindfulness of service stood out to Rios-Ellis.

“He’s obviously someone who really cares about service, and he’s obviously a servant leader, because I don’t think you can serve in the capacity of the military without being that type of servant leader,” she said. “So I think that’s really important, because I think those are things we need in a CFO.”

Once the committee selected three finalists, Pescovitz said she felt Mackey displayed the characteristics of someone capable of assessing OU’s needs and was the fit they were looking for.

Mackey is expected to join in January, and Pescovitz said she expects him to “hit the ground running.”

In addition to being the vice president for finance and administration, Mackey will also serve as the treasurer to the Board of Trustees (BOT) — two roles traditionally occupied by the same person. Being treasurer to the BOT does not give Mackey a seat on the board.

“The treasurer part of his role will be [to serve] as the main point of contact with the Board of Trustees regarding financial issues, serve the Board’s finance committee and work with the outside groups we engage [with] to manage our finances, investments, endowments and the external audit,” Pescovitz said. “He will work hand-in-hand with the Board of Trustees to better position us for the financial future needed to sustain this great university.”

Enrollment and tuition are the main revenue sources for OU, and both have declined in recent years, with a $24 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year 2023 being reported at the State of the University Address. With this, Mackey will be tasked with helping address further concerns of budget and finances.

“We are expecting Mr. Mackey to continue our longstanding tradition of being good stewards of our financial resources,” Pescovitz said. “We will also work to gain more philanthropic support and apply to any and all state and federal scholarship money to aid in our efforts of keeping OU as one of the most affordable higher education opportunities in the state.”