Columbia College Chicago Appoints New VP of Business Affairs/CFO

Emerson’s Michelle Gates Brings Comprehensive Higher Education Financial Experience to Position

CHICAGO (June 4, 2014) – Columbia College Chicago has announced the selection of Michelle Gates as vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer. She will begin her duties July 14.

Gates, chosen from among candidates in a national search begun earlier this year, has extensive history in financial posts at higher education institutions. She currently is senior associate vice president of financial affairs at Emerson College.

“Michelle has deep experience working in complex higher education financial systems. Her ability to navigate that complexity and build systems which help provide budget transparency and strategic analysis will be a tremendous benefit to Columbia College Chicago,” said Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim, president and CEO of Columbia College Chicago. “The balance of her financial acumen, commitment to shared governance, and her resonance with the college’s distinctive mission makes her a tremendous addition to my leadership team.”

In her new role, Gates will partner with President Kim and incoming Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Stan Wearden and play a critical role in developing and implementing the fiscal and information technology strategy for Columbia College Chicago. She will serve as counsel to senior management and the Board of Trustees. As a member of the senior leadership team, she also will serve as an advisor to college vice presidents, evaluating and assisting them with their financial plans and economic modeling among other duties.

“Of the many candidates we interviewed during the search, Michelle presented a unique combination of skills, experience and energy,” said interim CFO Richard Dowsek, who chaired the search committee. “Her knowledge and experience in higher education planning, change management and business process improvement is extremely well suited to support Columbia College Chicago during this era of institutional change.”

Gates has been at Emerson College since January 2012. She was director of budget and planning at New York University in Abu Dhabi, 2010-12, and director of university budget operations at Northern Arizona University, 2005-10. Prior to that, Gates was director of finance for the city of Roseburg, Oregon, as well as budget and financial analyst at University of Oregon. Gates earned an MBA from Arizona State University and a BA degree in business administration from Portland State University.

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts to more than 10,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit www.colum.edu.

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Media Contacts:
Diane Doyne, 312.369.7524, ddoyne@colum.edu
Steve Kauffman, 312.369.7383, skauffman@colum.edu

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