Vice President for Finance and Administration

To the Williams Community,

I am pleased to announce the appointment as Vice President for Finance and Administration of a candidate with exceptional experience as a financial officer and administrator, both inside and outside of higher education.

Since 2000 Fred Puddester has served at Johns Hopkins University, first as Executive Director of Budget and Financial Planning and then as Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration at the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. He and I overlapped at the school from 2007 to 2010.

Faculty and staff in Arts and Sciences have great respect for Fred as a skilled administrator who’s worked closely with faculty and staff in marshalling financial resources in support of the school’s educational mission and in making clear for decision makers the tradeoffs involved in the choices they face. He’s responsible for developing revenue and expenditure projections, formulating financing plans for academic initiatives and capital projects, administering the operating reserves, and managing the debt.

Among his achievements at the school have been redesigning a more open budget process that increased the engagement of department chairs, enhancing faculty input to the design of capital projects and laboratory renovations, and establishing a student-driven sustainability capital program.

As the university’s Executive Director of Budget and Financial Planning, he oversaw development of the university-wide budget and five-year plan.

Fred’s presence is, in fact, felt throughout Maryland. From 1989 he served the state as Director of Finance and advanced through a series of increasingly responsible positions to become Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management. In this cabinet-level appointment, he developed and executed the state’s $19 billion operating budget and $500 million capital budget, and managed the human resources function and benefit program for more than 70,000 state employees.

In addition, Fred has served as Chair of Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission, which under state law sets the cost of every procedure in every hospital, public and private, and as Chair of the Maryland Stadium Authority, which plans, finances, builds, and manages sport, civic, and performing arts facilities, often in partnership with local communities, universities, and private enterprises.

He’s also served on the state’s Inter-Agency Committee on School Construction and the Maryland General Assembly’s Spending Affordability Committee.

In Fred, Williams is getting someone with not only extraordinary and unique experience but with great personal warmth and humor and with a desire to return to the New England of his youth and to live closer to his family.  Fred and his wife Susan are eager to become part of the campus and local community.

Even more, he looks forward to meeting with faculty throughout the college, learning our faculty governance structure, and engaging with all those whose work is to advance the college’s financial planning, treasury functions, and administration.

He will begin that process with a visit next week, when he’ll meet with a number of faculty and staff and be introduced at Wednesday’s faculty meeting. He’ll return again around the time of the meeting of the Board of Trustees in early June.

My thanks go to the members of the Search Committee, listed below, who have worked so long and hard. In November, I asked them to work independently from me to identify from across the country the three strongest candidates for this position.  They retained the services of the highly regarded firm Diversified Search Odgers Berndtson, which had been familiar with the college through several previous searches. With broad input from the campus community, they together produced the position description.

The position was advertised widely, and the firm reached out to 150 contacts at colleges and universities, received around 100 applications and nominations, and conducted 40 in-depth screening phone calls followed by 13 in-person interviews. With this wealth of information, the committee chose eight candidates to interview in person and then three finalists, who in recent weeks each met here on campus with more than 30 faculty, staff, and students.

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Fred to Williams and in helping to orient him to the institutional history, culture, and governance structure that make this college great.

Adam Falk

Vice President for Finance and Administration Search Committee
Collette Chilton, Chief Investment Officer
Cathy Johnson, Professor of Political Science
Jim Kolesar, Assistant to the President for Public Affairs (chair)
Bill Lenhart, Provost and Professor of Computer Science
Margaret McComish, Director of Gift Planning
Lee Park, Professor of Chemistry
Chris Pye, Professor of English

News release at