Distributed April 13, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Ellen O’Connor named vice president for finance at Brown University

Ellen M. O’Connor, an executive with more that 20 years experience in health care, economic development and state and municipal governments, has been named vice president for finance at Brown University. She will succeed Vice President and University Controller Judith Michalenka, who retires June 30.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Ellen M. O’Connor, former chief financial officer of The District of Columbia, has been named vice president for finance at Brown University. She will succeed Judith Michalenka, vice president and University controller, who will retire June 30. O’Connor will begin her duties at Brown later this month.

“Ellen O’Connor was selected to fill this critically important position because of her extensive management experience in large, complex organizations,” said Donald J. Reaves, executive vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer, to whom O’Connor will report. “I am absolutely delighted that Ellen has chosen to join the team at Brown University. She brings with her a set of management skills and a fresh perspective that will enable her to implement successfully an extensive agenda, which in addition to the usual set of responsibilities, includes a major initiative to improve customer service for faculty, students, and staff.”

Michalenka will retire, leaving “a well run organization and a veteran staff that does an outstanding job of safeguarding the University’s assets,” Reaves said. “This will enable Ellen to focus her attention on improving the delivery of those services that affect the lives of every member of the Brown community, from payroll, purchasing and the disbursement of student loans to improving banking services and implementing new financial systems.”

As vice president for finance, O’Connor will be a member of the president’s executive staff, will serve on key senior management committees, and will oversee a number of departments and functions, including the Controller’s Office, the treasury function, Student Financial Services, Risk Management, the University’s insurance programs, Purchasing, and Financial Information Systems.

For more than 20 years, O’Connor served as an executive officer in government and the private sector. In 1983, she became comptroller of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serving as chief accountant and manager of fiscal operations for the state. She was appointed state budget director in 1989, with responsibility for financial forecasting and planning for a $15-billion state budget.

In 1991, O’Connor began serving as deputy mayor for financial management and chief financial officer of the District of Columbia. She directed all aspects of financial activity for the District, more than a $5-billion entity, and served as chief spokesperson on financial matters to Congress and the media. From 1995 to 1999, O’Connor was chief operations officer and chief financial officer for the Washington Business Group on Health, a policy and research organization representing Fortune 200 companies and other large purchasers of health care. She returned to Boston in 1999 as chief financial officer for The Community Builders Inc., a 12-state, 80-location housing company.

“It’s an honor to join the Brown community and its commitment to progress, O’Connor said. “Judy Michalenka and the finance staff have prepared a solid ground for the agenda of support that Donald Reaves describes and that will be my aim. I look forward to meeting and working with faculty, students and staff to learn the priorities and needs of each and to craft the program to advance support for them.”

O’Connor, a 1967 graduate of Regis College (A.B., mathematics), earned her M.B.A. in 1977 from the Graduate School of Management at Simmons College.