Date September 20, 2021
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Sarah C. Latham appointed Brown’s executive vice president for finance and administration

Currently the vice chancellor for business and administrative services at the University of California Santa Cruz, Latham will lead all administrative, business and financial operations for Brown effective Jan. 1, 2022.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Sarah C. Latham, an accomplished leader in higher education administration who serves currently as vice chancellor for business and administrative services at the University of California Santa Cruz, has been appointed Brown University’s next executive vice president for finance and administration.

Since joining UC Santa Cruz in 2012, Latham has been responsible for a wide-ranging portfolio that includes everything from business services and human resources to facilities, athletics, housing and campus police. She oversees financial affairs for a university with an annual operating budget of $830 million, an array of campus construction projects and a staff that totals nearly 1,000 employees. Over the past year, she’s played a lead role in the campus COVID-19 operational response, including the development of a new telecommuting model.

Brown President Christina H. Paxson said that in searching for its next executive vice president, the University sought a collaborative leader and talented manager with the ability to advance operational excellence across a wide range of administrative departments and units.

“Sarah brings an approach built on a foundation of partnership across faculty, staff, students and community leaders,” Paxson said. “Her leadership will be instrumental in ensuring strong administrative and financial support for Brown’s academic mission and distinctive student experience. She is deeply skilled in both advancing strategic priorities and supporting teams and also the essential tactical-level work that keeps a vibrant university campus moving forward. We’re excited to welcome her to Brown.”

Latham’s appointment follows a national search. As the senior member of the University’s executive team responsible for most non-academic operations, she will report directly to Paxson and lead all administrative, business and financial operations. Responsibilities in the executive vice president’s portfolio include, among others, finance and treasury functions, human resources, facilities management, real estate, risk management, business operations, dining services, internal audit, and auxiliary services including the Brown Bookstore.

Additional responsibilities include working with the president’s executive team on strategic planning, including the development of financial and capital plans; collaborating with the provost and senior officers on the University Resources Committee to develop annual budget recommendations; and advising the president and Brown Corporation on financial planning.

Prior to her appointment at UC Santa Cruz, Latham served for 10 years at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, as director of institutional research, assistant to the president and, ultimately, vice president for operations and planning from 2008 to 2012. She also served as an instructor in the Department of Political Science, teaching courses on public policy that built on early-career experiences in the Florida state legislature and Florida Board of Regents.

“ A spirit of entrepreneurialism and innovation has been evident in every interaction I have had with Brown community members, and it’s exciting to be a part of a campus where faculty, staff and students dream big and strive to make a difference in the world. ”

Sarah C. Latham Incoming Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Latham said she’s eager to build on the successes and talents of teams across Brown’s Division of Finance and Administration. Employee engagement, morale and leadership development will all be key areas of focus as she leads a team dedicated to expanding resources and achieving operational excellence across a wide variety of responsibilities that support Brown academic mission.

“A spirit of entrepreneurialism and innovation has been evident in every interaction I have had with Brown community members, and it’s exciting to be a part of a campus where faculty, staff and students dream big and strive to make a difference in the world,” she said. “The ability to support them in their journeys is beyond exciting to me.”

Latham said her passion for higher education stems from her own experience as a first-generation college student, when she learned firsthand the transformative power of a university education. 

“Brown sits at the nexus of creativity and critical thinking to find solutions to the greatest challenges facing our globe,” she said. “It has demonstrated strength in serving as an incubator for knowledge, personal development and research that is transformational for not only students, faculty and staff, but for our broader society. Whether it is the Open Curriculum and foundation of empowering students to be the architects of their academic journeys or the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion action plan, Brown continues to be at the forefront of higher education. It is a place I want to be.”

Prior to her roles at UC Santa Cruz and Samford University, Latham was an educational policy director for the Florida Council for Education Policy, Research and Improvement — a role in which she researched a vast array of policy issues and developed recommendations for the Florida legislature. She previously held positions with the state’s Board of Regents, Postsecondary Education Planning Commission, and the education unit in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budgeting.

Latham has presented extensively on a range of topics significant in higher education administration, including leadership, mentorship, capital plans, community relations and risk management. She currently serves as board chair for the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce and a board member for the Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation; previously, she completed a term on the Second Harvest Food Bank’s board. 

A native of California, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a master’s degree in higher education and a Ph.D. in public administration and policy from Florida State University.

In joining Brown effective Jan. 1, 2022, Latham will succeed Barbara Chernow, a Brown Class of 1979 graduate who returned to her alma mater in 2015 as executive vice president and has transformed administrative operations in areas ranging from finance and facilities to human resources, dining and business operations. Chernow will retire in October, and Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell C. Carey has been named interim executive vice president for finance and administration until Latham’s arrival in January.