Introducing Mike Wagner as new VP for Finance and Operations and College Treasurer

Williams faculty, staff and students,

After a competitive national search, I am pleased to announce that Michael Wagner, currently Chief Financial Officer at Dartmouth College, will join Williams as our next Vice President for Finance and Operations and College Treasurer, starting August 30, 2021. He will succeed Fred Puddester, who will retire at the end of this summer.

At Williams, Mike, as he likes to be known, will oversee a range of financial and operational areas of the college, serving as a key member of senior staff and an important partner to the Board of Trustees in support of their fiduciary role. He will be responsible for the effective stewardship of college resources, including our $270M annual operating budget, and the smooth operations of the college through his oversight of a wide range of offices and teams. As a reminder, at Williams the vice president for finance works closely with the provost, who is appointed from within our faculty to oversee funding of our academic program. Fred and Provost Dukes Love established a high standard for this administration-faculty partnership, and Mike and Dukes will continue in the same spirit of shared governance.

During Mike’s 20-year career at Dartmouth he served as Chief Financial Officer of the Geisel School of Medicine and the college’s Controller and Vice President for Finance. As CFO, he led financial planning, budgeting, treasury, reporting and business operations activities while collaborating closely with academic and administrative leaders. His accomplishments include enhancing the rigor of Dartmouth’s analysis and reporting, as well as improving the campus discussion of higher education finance. He has regularly led the “Inside Dartmouth’s Budget” course for students, faculty, and staff; worked with Campus Services and external advisors on the financing and funding strategy for infrastructure renewal initiatives, including energy sustainability and student housing; collaborated with the provost, deans and faculty governance committees on a wide range of financial topics; and prioritized professional development, project management and climate and culture initiatives within the finance division. Before working at Dartmouth, Mike was a senior manager and CPA at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Boston, serving clients in education among other sectors.

Mike holds a master’s degree in accounting from Northeastern University and a B.A. in economics from Amherst College. While we certainly expect him to sit on the correct side of the field at future homecoming games, his educational and professional history are characterized by continuing engagement with the liberal arts. Indeed, his experience managing Dartmouth’s resources well in service of their educational mission was a highlight of his Williams candidacy.

Outside of work, Mike has been active in his community, serving on the Upper Valley (NH) Regional Advisory Board and Impact Investment Committee of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the board of Granite United Way, as a corporation member of the Montshire Museum of Science, the finance committee of Vital Communities, and as a youth ice hockey coach for over a decade. Mike and his wife, Laura Rice, have three children who are in college or beyond. Mike and Laura enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, kayaking, skiing and snowshoeing.

In closing I want to thank the members of our search committee, who worked closely with the college’s search partners at Spencer Stuart to recruit and vet a highly competitive candidate pool. I also want to thank the managers and staff of all the teams reporting to the vice president, who are working hard to keep things running smoothly through this transition.

Please join me in thanking them when you have the opportunity, and in welcoming Mike Wagner to Williams. I look forward to introducing him to you in September.