Lauren Brisky retiring as Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for administration and chief financial officer

[Download a high-resolution image of Lauren Brisky, Betty Price and Jerry Fife.]

Lauren J. Brisky, who has overseen the financial and administrative operations of Vanderbilt University for the past decade as the university has made spectacular gains in its research, health care and educational endeavors, announced Dec. 26 she will retire Feb. 1, 2009, after 20 years at Vanderbilt.

In a letter to university colleagues, Brisky, vice chancellor for administration and chief financial officer, said, "This is a bittersweet moment for me in my life, but the timing is right for me to begin my next life’s chapter."

During her tenure, Brisky has overseen Vanderbilt’s $3.1 billion operating budget and its net assets of $5 billion. In addition to the institution’s financial management, Brisky oversees a division of more than 1,500 people and an operating budget of $190 million that is responsible for the university’s administrative infrastructure, including facilities and construction, human resources, information technology and a wide array of business operations.

Brisky’s responsibilities will be assumed by two members of her executive team. Betty L. Price, deputy vice chancellor for finance and controller, will serve as acting vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer. Jerry Fife, associate vice chancellor for business services and research finance, will serve as acting vice chancellor for administration.

"The university is in great hands with my very talented and dedicated staff who have given me far more than I have ever given them," Brisky said.

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos called Brisky "a visionary leader, a brilliant manager and a prudent steward of our great university. Lauren’s contributions to Vanderbilt’s success and strength are too many to be detailed. Yet, everywhere one looks – our new Commons, the extraordinary growth in our research and health care, our financial strength and our spectacular campus beauty – Lauren’s tireless and creative work is evident."

When Brisky was named vice chancellor for administration at Vanderbilt in 1999, she became the highest-ranking woman in the university’s history. She became Vanderbilt’s chief financial officer in 2000. Brisky, who has spent her entire career in university administration, joined Vanderbilt in 1988 after holding positions at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Brisky’s leadership is credited with helping the university establish and maintain the financial foundation, facilities, personnel and other resources for a wide variety of projects and programs, including The Commons, a first-year living and learning campus that opened in fall 2008; a research enterprise that has grown dramatically; a campus that has repeatedly been recognized as one of the most beautiful and well maintained; and a division that has among the longest tenured employees at the university.

In announcing that Price and Fife would assume Brisky’s responsibilities, Zeppos said, "Perhaps Lauren’s greatest achievement was to build a remarkably strong and collegial leadership team. She has prepared her team well for all challenges, including her retirement."

Price, a certified public accountant, joined Vanderbilt in 1986 after a decade of accounting in the corporate sector, first with the international firm KPMG LLP, where she became an audit manager and the Nashville office’s computer audit specialist, and later as accounting manager for a subsidiary of American Express.

Price served as Vanderbilt’s assistant controller from 1986 until her appointment as controller in 1998. In May 2001 she assumed the additional title of associate vice chancellor for finance.

Price is responsible for providing leadership in the offices of Financial Affairs, Financial Information Systems and Procurement and Disbursements. She and her team are also responsible for the university’s $600 million working capital portfolio and strategic capital planning, executive and administration of the university’s $1.2 billion debt portfolio.

Price graduated in 1979 from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in accounting and in 1990 earned a master of business administration from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

Price has served on the Life Insurance Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, on the state board of the Tennessee Society of CPAs and on various state committees of the TSCPA. She has also served as president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSCPA and in 2002 received its Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry Award.

Fife, who came to Vanderbilt in 1998, began his career in research administration in 1975 at Purdue University. In 1985 he became director of sponsored programs administration at Mississippi State University and in 1990 he moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to become director of the Office of Contracts and Grants.

At Vanderbilt Fife is responsible for the Occupational Health Clinic, the Child and Family centers, the Employee Wellness Center, the Employee Assistance Program, the Opportunity Development Center, Payroll and Benefit Processing, International Services, the Office of Contract and Grant Accounting, the Office of Student Accounts, Student Loans, Cashier’s Office and University Compliance. He previously served as the interim associate vice chancellor for human resources and the assistant vice chancellor for information technology services.

He is a member of the Society of Research Administrators, has served as its treasurer and is on the board of directors of the Council on Governmental Relations. He is a past president of the National Council of University Research Administrators.

Fife graduated from Purdue University in 1974 with a degree in management. Zeppos said of Price and Fife, "We are fortunate to have two exceptionally talented executives in Betty and Jerry, who combined have more than 30 years of experience at Vanderbilt, to step in and lead these important positions."

Media contact: Elizabeth Latt, (615) 322-NEWS

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