Washburn appoints new VPAT

VPAT: Chris Kuwitzky has been appointed as the new Vice President of Administration and Treasurer. Kuwitzky is a certified public accountant and earned a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting from the University of Oklahoma in 1983.

Abbie Barth , Copy Editor and Freelance Reporter

Chris Kuwitzky has been selected as Washburn’s new vice president of administration and treasurer.

The university VPAT is in charge of all financial operations and overseeing the following areas of Washburn: information technology services, the physical plant, human resources, auxiliary enterprises and supervision of the university police force.

Kuwitzky has been working for Washburn as the controller and director of accounting since October, 2018. According to the official Washburn University press release, Kuwitzky will be replacing current Vice President Jim Martin, who will return to a full-time teaching position with the school of business.

The search narrowed to two candidates in August, with Kuwitzky being the only Washburn candidate. Kuwitzky came from the University of Oklahoma, where he spent 30 years of his career. His final position at OU was the Associate Vice President of administration and finance.

President Jerry Farley made the following statement on Kuwitzky’s hiring in the university press release.

“Chris brought some great experience to Washburn from his long career in both public accounting and in higher education at OU,” said Farley. “Since joining our staff in October of last year, he has proven to be a strong asset and a great fit for Washburn. This is a challenging position and we are fortunate to have such a talented and experienced professional on our team.”

In his current position, Kuwitzky is responsible for the team that produces the university’s financial statements and assists with investment and debt strategies.

On Aug. 16, Kuwitzky gave a presentation on his work experience and goals for Washburn followed by a question and answer forum. 

During the forum Kuwitzky was asked about areas that he would like to see improvement. In his response, Kuwitzky emphasized the long financial approval process for minor payments.

Kuwitzky noticed that he would sometimes have to approve certain payments in the financial office when Martin wasn’t available. He realized that he had no idea what the payment was for, but at least five other people had already approved it. He emphasized how long the approval process took, and in this case for a small payment of $36. He used this example as context for his goal of improving the financial process by tightening its security, refreshing the current policies and creating a workflow system.

During his presentation, Kuwitzky also shared his reasons for wanting to work in higher education.

“I fell in love with the idea of helping students be successful,” said Kuwitzky. “At the end of the day, that’s why I stayed in education. We’re changing lives and legacies along the way.”

Kuwitzky will officially take the role of VPAT on Oct. 1.

“I am equally humbled and excited to be selected to serve as Washburn’s next Vice President for Administration and Treasurer,” said Kuwitzky. “I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to help ensure that Washburn prospers in the years to come.”

Edited by Adam White, Jessica Galvin, Wesley Tabor