NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman has announced the selection of Sarah McGill as the university’s next vice president for administration and finance and chief financial officer.
In this role, McGill will lead business and finance operations and partner with the president, the executive vice president and provost, and members of the president’s senior leadership team to implement long-range financial planning and the annual strategic budget formulation process.
She brings with her a wealth of experience gleaned from more than 11 years in senior administrative positions at major research institutions, including six years at the University of Chicago, where she spent time as executive director for enrollment and as chief of staff to the vice president for administration and CFO.
In 2012, McGill joined Northwestern University, where she spent four years as the senior associate dean of the graduate school. Serving as both the chief financial officer and chief operating officer, she managed a budget of $115 million and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the school, which has 3,000 faculty serving 4,000 students and 800 postdoctoral fellows spread across six schools and 80 programs. In July of 2016, she assumed the role of associate vice president for strategic initiatives with responsibility for the identification and implementation of university-wide priorities to move Northwestern forward.
While aware of the challenges facing public universities in Illinois, McGill is excited for her new job.
“I am deeply humbled to be selected for this role. I tend to see challenges as opportunities. Working together, we can set thoughtful priorities, align our scarce resources towards those priorities and execute in a focused manner. I know the journey will be richly rewarding. I look forward to working with university leadership, faculty, staff and students to make NIU even stronger.”
In addition to managing the financial affairs of NIU, her portfolio will include overseeing accounting and business operations, finance controls and reporting, audit, procurement and strategic sourcing, treasury functions, investment oversight, facilities and grounds operations, space planning and construction, and enterprise risk management.
While she has handled many of those roles previously, McGill says she is very sensitive to the fact that every university is unique. “I appreciate the importance of staying true to the institutional culture and values while preparing for the challenges and opportunities of the future,” she said. “I have always been a big believer in transparency and open communication, as well as actively engaging with the university community and board of trustees.”
Freeman looks forward to McGill joining the NIU leadership team. “Sarah’s appreciation and understanding of all aspects of the university’s mission will make her an asset to NIU as we continue to work towards fiscal sustainability and alignment of our budget with our mission,” she said.
McGill earned an M.B.A. from Cardinal Stritch University and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University. Her service leadership includes sitting on the board of Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Illinois.
She will officially assume her new role on Jan. 1 and was approved by the NIU Board of Trustees on Nov. 16.