July 22, 2024

Kweskin to retire as executive vice chancellor for finance, chief financial officer – The Source

Amy Kweskin, executive vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer at Washington University in St. Louis, will retire from the university at the end of the calendar year, after 27 years of service, announced Chancellor Andrew D. Martin.

Amy Kweskin

Kweskin has made many lasting contributions to the university during her tenure. She was instrumental in developing the funding model and structure for the Gateway to Success initiative that enabled the university to enact need-blind admissions, as well as creating funding mechanisms for the university’s no-loan financial aid policy for undergraduate admissions that was announced last fall.

“Amy has been an incredible asset to WashU and will leave an indelible mark on the university,” Martin said. “She’s greatly admired by her colleagues for her expertise, innovative thinking and strong commitment to protecting and leveraging the university’s financial portfolio. She also is highly regarded for her contributions to the St. Louis community and to higher education through her civic leadership for numerous regional and national organizations. We’re grateful to Amy for her many years of service and wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Kweskin joined the university’s Office of the Treasurer in April 1997 as associate treasurer after 12 years at McDonnell Douglas Corp. She was named university treasurer six months later, becoming the first female treasurer in the university’s history and landing on the St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list. In July 2008, she was promoted to associate vice chancellor for finance and treasurer.

She was named vice chancellor for finance and CFO in 2016 with responsibility for the Financial Services office, including treasury management and insurance; accounting services; sponsored research accounting; shared business services hub; and financial planning and budgets. In 2020, she took over executive leadership of the university’s Workday human resources and financial operations implementation and added the Financial Information Services team. In 2021, she was promoted to executive vice chancellor for finance and CFO, gaining responsibility for the university’s real estate portfolio, operations and development, and now leads a staff of 240 members. 

As chair of the Workday HR and finance executive leadership team, Kweskin led a multiyear effort to transform and modernize how the university collects, manages and reports the data it needs to operate. Among her many achievements, she has been actively involved in the “Here and Next” strategic plan as a member of the coordinating committee; has overseen the development and implementation of the university’s debt-financing strategy; and led university bond financings of $3 billion to fund projects such as the university’s east end and, most recently, the new Jeffrey T. Fort Neuroscience Research Building; navigated the university through the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis; ensured that the university has adequate liquidity to meet its day-to-day operations; and, most recently, led the purchase agreement to acquire the Fontbonne University campus.

“It’s been a real pleasure for me personally to watch Amy’s career from the early days at McDonnell Douglas to her move to Washington University back in the 1990s, through her ascending career since then to CFO,” University Honorary Emeritus Trustee John F. McDonnell said. “She has always been precise in her thinking, level-headed in her decision-making, and inspiring to so many in her leadership.”

Among Kweskin’s honors and awards, she was named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s list of “Most Influential Business Women” in 2018. She is active in many organizations, including serving on the board of Hillel at Washington University and as a member of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ budget, finance and administration committee. She also is on the board of the Cortex Innovation Community and serves as their treasurer. She also is involved in various professional organizations, including the NCAA board of governors’ investment subcommittee and the National Association of College and University Business Officers and as a past member of the board of directors for the Treasury Institute for Higher Education, which promotes treasury best practices in schools and universities nationwide. She has been a speaker for numerous organizations and a guest lecturer at Olin Business School.

“Washington University and the St. Louis community are better places because of Amy’s leadership, passion and dedication,” Emeritus University Trustee Maxine Clark said. “I have learned so much from Amy, not only from her strong financial acumen, but also because of her impeccable ability to communicate finance in a language we can understand.”

In addition to her professional leadership at WashU for nearly three decades, Kweskin has taken great pride in her role as a WashU parent. Kweskin and her husband, Jay, have two children. Their son, Ben, and daughter, Mia, both earned bachelor’s degrees from Arts & Sciences.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to help lead and steward WashU for the past 27 years,” Kweskin said. “When I hear about a student who didn’t think they’d be able to go to WashU and got a scholarship without student loans, or when I see our new neuroscience research building and think about the breakthroughs that will happen there — maybe we’ll find the cure to Alzheimer’s someday — I feel so grateful to have been a part of WashU’s tremendous history, mission and impact. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my amazing team here at WashU, to so many trustees and leaders who have believed in me and, most importantly, to my support system: my husband, Jay, and our family and friends.”

The university will begin a search for Kweskin’s successor in the near future, according to Martin.

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