Founded in 1882, Whitman College is a highly selective, private, independent, co-educational, residential liberal arts college. Home to approximately 1,500 undergraduates from 45 states and 37 countries, the college fosters intellectual vitality, confidence and leadership, along with the flexibility to succeed in a changing, technological, multicultural world.

Whitman is located in Walla Walla, Washington, which was recently named one of the 10 best small towns in America and one of the world’s 10 best wine travel destinations. The town of nearly 32,000 residents boasts a thriving Latino/Hispanic community, representing over 20 percent of the county population.

The Position

Position Description

Reporting to the chief financial officer, the controller is responsible for the fiscal operations of the college by establishing and maintaining procedures and controls, ensuring the accuracy and timely recording and reporting of fiscal activity, and safeguarding college assets. Leads a staff of nine full time professionals of the business office.

Principal Accountabilities:

  1. Establish and maintain an effective system of internal controls.
  2. Control and account for college assets, liabilities and net assets.
  3. Develop as necessary and maintain an effective accounting system promoting accuracy, clarity, consistency and efficiency.
  4. Maintain compliance with accounting standards and rules.
  5. Maintain compliance with all pertinent governmental and oversight agencies.
  6. Supervise the staff and the activities of the Business Office.
  7. Together with the CFO, and associate controller plan and coordinate development of each year’s budget.
  8. Plan and coordinate the annual college-wide and 403(b) retirement plan audits, prepare financial statements, serve as the lead staff supporting the audit committee and maintain effective working relationships with the independent auditors, the CFO staff and the audit committee.
  9. Together with the CFO, underwriter and municipal bond advisor participate in planning, issuance, reporting and compliance related to the college’s long-term debt.
  10. Prepare financial reports and analysis as necessary for both external and internal users.
  11. Oversee and coordinate college tax reporting and related issues.
  12. Prepare office policies and procedures as needed and ensure they are clear, concise and well documented.

 

Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree and CPA certification is required, as is demonstrated progressive experience in non-profit or business accounting and financial services. Supervisory experience is preferred. Experience in a management role at a college or university is preferred. Other preferred qualifications include: Ability to establish and maintain an effective collegial working relationship with students, parents, faculty, and staff; Requisite knowledge base and understanding to maintain professional capability; Ability to communicate financial information both orally and in writing; Ability to work with technology to further the service efforts and efficiency of the business office. Ability to plan, organize, implement and evaluate financial programs, policies and procedures. Ability to develop and implement plans to meet the future needs and activities of the Business Office and the college. Working knowledge of accounting systems and computing.

History of the Position

The current controller, Walter Froese, has been at Whitman for over 24 years and will retire in the spring. The administration would like to hire his replacement prior to his actual retirement date so that some formal transition may occur before his departure.

Opportunities and Challenges

The new controller will find a strong collegial environment within the university and opportunities to support the university’s strategic direction.

In addition to strong technical skills, the controller must possess the ability to build, mentor, retain and support a strong team within the office. It will be critical to engage the staff members in the strategy and direction of the organization.

The college is financially strong with a healthy endowment.

The new controller will have the opportunity to evaluate current technology use and consider adoption of new resources in this area to streamline complex processes.

The position will be required to stay current in knowledge of federal audit requirements and tax obligations for non-profit and higher education.

The president, cabinet and board is supportive to and respectful of the role of the controller.

The new controller will find an institution that recognizes and welcomes creativity, collaboration and innovation in processes and solutions.

The board of trustees is supportive of students, faculty and staff and involved in the success of the college.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining Whitman College, the following items will define success for the new controller:

  • The new controller has earned the trust and confidence of the president, chief financial officer, the board and the cabinet.
  • A vision for the budget model and forecasting has been articulated and embraced by stakeholders across the University.
  • The new controller is a visible and engaged member of the Whitman community.
  • The new controller has worked to identify current needs to improve existing processes to better serve the campus.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

In 1836, a few miles from the current city of Walla Walla, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman established a Christian mission and a school to teach the Cayuse Indians to read and write their native language. Later, the Whitmans provided assistance to Oregon Trail travelers. In 1847, Rev. Cushing Eells resolved to establish a school in the Whitmans’ honor. The Washington Territorial Legislature granted a charter to Whitman Seminary on December 20, 1859. On November 28, 1883, the legislature issued a new charter, changing the seminary into a four-year, degree-granting college.

From its beginning, Whitman College has prized its independence from sectarian and political control. Whitman has remained small in order to facilitate the close faculty-student interaction that is essential to exceptional higher education. In 1913, Whitman became the first college or university in the nation to require undergraduate students to complete comprehensive examinations in their major fields. The installation of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in 1919, the first for any Northwest college, marked Whitman’s growing reputation.

Visit Whitman’s Portraits of the Past digital exhibit, which features an exploratory collection of photographs of the College’s history, to see an interactive timeline of Whitman College’s history.

Institutional Leadership

Kathleen M. Murray, President

Kathleen M. Murray became the 14th president of Whitman College on July 1, 2015. Previously she was provost and dean of the faculty at Macalester College, where she led the academic program of one of America’s finest liberal arts colleges, planned a new $70 million fine arts center and played a key role in the development of Macalester’s strategic plan. Prior to Macalester, she was provost at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama for three years.

Murray received her Bachelor of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1979, then obtained her Master of Music in piano performance from Bowling Green State University in 1982 and her Doctor of Music in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University in 1989.

Under Murray’s leadership, Whitman College is preparing for a prosperous future. Since 2015, the college has completed a strategic planning initiative, identifying priorities for future fundraising and growth. The college finished the first phase of its Living at Whitman initiative, opening the new Stanton Hall sophomore residence hall and Cleveland Commons dining hall in fall 2018.

Peter Harvey, Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Harvey currently serves as chief financial officer of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and secretary to the Board of Trustees. Formerly, he was director of administrative services for Whitman. Mr. Harvey is a 1984 graduate of Whitman College and completed his Chartered Financial Analyst Certification in 1997.

His responsibilities at Whitman include oversight of the endowment, finance, accounting, budgeting, planning, capital projects, physical plant, human resources, and environmental health and safety for a residential liberal arts college. Mr. Harvey serves on the board of a captive insurance company, and has served on several community boards.

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

  • Medical and Dental Insurance
  • Vision Plan
  • Flexible Spending
  • Life Insurance Plans
  • Excellent Retirement Plan
  • Tuition Remission
  • Employee Assistance Program

For more information: https://www.whitman.edu/human-resources/benefits

Application & Nomination

Applications received by January 13, 2020, will be assured full consideration. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Laura Puckett-Boler at lpb@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Whitman College website at https://www.whitman.edu

Whitman College is building a diverse academic community and welcomes nominations of and applications from women, members of historically underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, and others who would bring additional dimensions to the College’s learning environment. Whitman is responsive to the needs of dual-career couples. Whitman College is an EEO employer.