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John Boyle III to retire as Vice President of Business Affairs and Finance

Stephanie McHenry appointed to fill the position

Feb. 17, 2011

BY JAMES O'MALLEY

As Cleveland State University is grappling with the task of restructuring it’s operating budget due to expected cuts in State Subsidized Funding, it has surprised many to learn that the long-term Vice President of Business Affairs and Finance, John “Jack” Boyle III, will be stepping down from the position after 22 years of service to the university in various roles.

President Ronald Berkman recently appointed Stephanie McHenry, former Urban Partnership Bank Cleveland Region president and a member of CSU’s Board of Trustees since 2007, to succeed him.

Boyle was elected mayor of Cleveland Heights at the young age of 31 and ran the Cleveland-based insurance company United Agencies Inc. Boyle retired from United Agencies Inc. after working there for 38 years in the summer of 2000 when he was first named interim VP of Business Affairs and Finance.

Having served on CSU’s board of trustees since 1989, with two years as vice chair, Boyle was poised to handle a major issue facing the university in his first year on the job. At the time, CSU had only $8 million in reserves and $9 million in unfunded expenditures, meaning CSU was technically bankrupt.

“We got that year back on track eventually,” said Boyle recalling the financial struggles of 2000, “and will now finish this fiscal year [2010-2011] with about $80 million in reserves.” The amount the university will benefit from Boyle’s hard work in generating these funds is considered by some to be nearly incalculable as it offers the ability to continue running programs and invest in the future while traversing a fiscal year with an expected budget deficit of about $15 million.

Following Boyle’s interim position as VP, CSU appointed former Ohio State Senator and Mayor of Akron, Roy Ray, to the position in 2001. During this time Boyle became a special assistant to the president. When Ray left CSU to assume the same role at the University of Akron in 2003, Boyle resumed his position as VP, where he has been since.

While still acting as a special assistant to the president, Boyle earned a Masters degree in Urban Planning, Design and Development from the College of Urban Affairs in 2002. The skills and knowledge he obtained has proven instrumental in bringing forth CSU’s master plan into reality. During his time as VP he has overseen the development of numerous facilities around the campus all the while maintaining an affordable university. However, Boyle largely credits his hardworking team as the reason for his success in the position.

“Our dedicated staff are our greatest asset,” said Boyle. While layoffs are always a concern when it comes to budget issues Boyle is proud of the steps he has taken to minimize the damage. “We have done a good job of managing our employee attrition and reducing positions without losing very many of our dedicated employees.”

CSU will soon be counting on that talent as it prepares to handle expected cuts in State Subsidized Funding of about 21.4 percent. That figure appeared in the recently released report from President Berkman’s Budget Advisory Task Force, which also outlined the target goals for reduction possibilities in all colleges.

Deans were asked to submit their college’s plans to reduce expenditures and increase revenue to Provost Geoffrey Mearns by Feb. 22. This has caused some concern to students and faculty who worry the quality of education could suffer, but Mearns does not see it that way.

“You can’t translate a 10 percent target to a 10 percent reduction in faculty, for a variety of reasons,” said Mearns. “Those targets are specifically not phrased as cuts, because a college or unit can reach its target through a combination of revenue increases and expense reductions.”

It’s this kind of creative thinking that has made Boyle so valuable to the university. His ability to see the big picture and invest in profitable programs has saved the university from many pitfalls.

“We have had to cut the budget four times in the last ten years. It’s never easy, but I think we’ve done it without negatively affecting our academic program,” said Boyle. Finding inventive ways to manage cuts, as Boyle has, will be the major obstacle facing McHenry in her new position.

“The VP needs to keep pushing to find more innovative and efficient ways to deliver services,” said Boyle. Still, Boyle can’t think of anyone better suited to replace him. “We’ve worked closely together. I think she has as good a background in it as I did coming in.”

Boyle plans to retire sometime in summer after staying on to assist McHenry’s transition to the role and help finish some long-standing development programs he has been working on. Leaving CSU in an official context will find Boyle back where he started–in government–with a position in the Planning Commission of Shaker Heights, where he resides.

“It goes from a quarter-of-a-billion dollar year budget to ruling on whether the air-conditioning unit can go on a side unit, but that’s what you do with old people–you put them in stuff they can handle,” Boyle said, jokingly.

“Jack has played a pivotal role in the transformation of this University,” Berkman said upon announcing his replacement. “His experience and insight will be missed as we move forward with a master plan that he helped to develop.”

Stephanie McHenry begins working at CSU on March 14th.

McHenry earned an economics degree from Dartmouth and began her career at ShoreBank in Chicago where she helped provide affordable urban housing and neighborhood revitalization.