Gerald Hector, vice president for finance and administration at Ithaca College, has been named Cornell’s new vice president for financial affairs, Joanne DeStefano, executive vice president and chief financial officer, announced today. He will join Cornell Aug. 1.
Hector will be a member of DeStefano’s senior team, developing and monitoring university financial policy and overseeing a division of more than 150 employees. He has a 23-year career in accounting and finance and has worked in higher education since 2004, managing most aspects of finance and administration, including information technology, conference events and services, facilities and public safety.
“Gerald has an impressive, broad background, and his collaborative leadership style will be a tremendous asset for Cornell,” DeStefano said. “He has shown outstanding fiscal responsibility, innovation and strategic thinking throughout his career, and I look forward to having him in this key role.”
Hector will be responsible for Ithaca campus operations including university controller, risk management and insurance, tax and financial initiatives, and treasury. He’ll also maintain close working relationships with the financial staff of Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Tech.
DeStefano previously held the position; as her responsibilities have grown, another professional was needed for the role, she said.
Hector said he is enthusiastic about joining Cornell and meeting the challenges of a leading research institution. “Higher education is going through a major transition, and my intention is to bring to this role my finance and accounting accomplishments, communications skills and social awareness of demographic and socio-economic shifts and their impact on the industry,” he said. “Most importantly, I’m looking forward to working on a team to solve many of these tough problems, not only at Cornell but also in the higher education community.”
Hector has served as vice president at Ithaca College since 2013. As chief business officer for all activities related to business, finance and administration, he managed a budget of $230 million, with overall assets totaling $759 million.
His accomplishments include replacing the incremental budget model with a more strategic zero-based model. Hector also completed a 10-year master plan, instituted a five-year deferred maintenance strategy and refinanced several tranches of debt.
With collaboration in mind, he instituted a monthly conversation series with the campus community, where he discussed financial and administrative issues affecting the college in an open and transparent manner. He also started a weekly lunchtime discussion series on race, diversity and inclusion.
Prior to his work at Ithaca College, Hector was vice president of business and finance at Johnson C. Smith University, where he managed a $46 million budget, with total assets of $127 million, a growth of 27 percent during his tenure. He also created a cash reserve of more than $10 million in four years while strengthening the balance sheet and overall financial health of the institution.
Previously he was corporate controller for the United Negro College Fund, where he was responsible for crafting the initial budgets for the landmark $1 billion Gates Millennium Scholars program for outstanding minority students. “This scholarship program is the one that gives me the greatest amount of pride in my career thus far,” he said.
Hector has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with honors from Howard University. He has also earned professional development certificates from Harvard University, Yale University and the University of Kentucky, and is a certified public accountant. He is pursuing a master’s degree in Christian thought from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He is a frequent presenter at higher education conferences and shares his expertise with boards, presidents and trustees about how to navigate the changing tides in higher education.
Hector is married to Sharon-Kaye Hector and has three children. His passions outside of work are teaching men’s Bible study at his church, crossword puzzles, reading and golf.