Following a national search, Dr. Debra L. Fitzsimons has been selected to serve as vice president for administration and finance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She will begin work at IUP on Dec. 16.
Fitzsimons brings more than 25 years of experience to the role, serving as a higher education business and finance executive officer or chief financial officer at colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California and Hawaii. The institutions where she has worked had budgets ranging from $18 million to $800 million, with enrollment from 900 to 65,000 plus students.
“Dr. Fitzsimons brings an incredible depth and breadth of experience, working across many different sectors and aspects of higher education, including in university systems,” IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll said in a news release. “I am also impressed with her demonstrated ability and desire to work as a partner, not just with university leadership at the cabinet level, but in a broad, shared governance framework. This attitude and willingness to work in this way will be critical as we address difficult issues and make important decisions about IUP’s new reality.”
Throughout her career, Fitzsimons has focused on improving business and financial areas to support the academic mission more seamlessly and fully, including developing processes to provide better, timely and accurate financial information.
She has played a leadership role in construction and renovation of many new campus buildings and been active in work related to accreditations and state funding allocations. She has been honored with awards and recognitions for her work at the universities where she has worked.
“It is my honor to join the IUP leadership team as the vice president for administration and finance during this exciting time,” Fitzsimons said in the news release. “IUP is an outstanding university with a very positive mission and vision for the future. I look forward to this opportunity to work with such high quality, passionate, and talented leadership, faculty, staff, and students to ensure good financial health and provide exceptional business and financial operations in support of the academic, student, public service and research missions of the university.
“It’s truly wonderful to be back ‘home’ in western Pennsylvania and I will enjoy getting to know everyone and being a committed part of the town of Indiana and the community.”
Susanna Sink, who has served as interim vice president for administration and finance for the past year, will be retiring from the university later this year. She was appointed to the interim role following the departure of Vice President for Administration and Finance Dr. Cornelius Wooten, who left IUP to serve as vice chancellor of Administration and Finance at North Carolina Central University.
Fitzsimons most recently served as vice chancellor of business services and chief financial officer and then as interim chancellor and chief executive officer at South Orange County Community College District, Mission Viejo, Calif.
She was vice president and chief business officer at Southwestern Community College District, Chula Vista, Calif. and was chief business officer and dean of administrative affairs at Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif.
She began her professional career at Youngstown State University, where she had several different roles, including executive director-business and financial affairs. In this position, she had total budget responsibility of $196 million.