Hampshire College names interim CFO, director of operations

  • The sign in at the entrance of Hampshire College. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/17/2019 11:00:20 AM

AMHERST — Hampshire College has made two high-level interim appointments to its administration as it continues the search to fill several more important positions, including the role of president.

In a letter to campus on Friday, interim President Ken Rosenthal announced the hiring of Larry Archey, the college's former director of facilities, as a new director of operations, and retired Amherst College treasurer Peter Shea as Hampshire’s new chief financial officer and treasurer. The two replace recently departed CFO Mary McEneany, Hampshire’s treasurer and vice president for finance and administration since 2015.

“These two appointees will serve at the pleasure of our new president, for at least six months and as long as 24 months,” Rosenthal wrote. 

The announcement comes after the college brought finalists for the position of president to campus, where Rosenthal said more than 35 members of the college community — staff, students, faculty, alumni, trustees and parents — assessed the candidates.

Rosenthal said he is hopeful that the board of trustees will announce their decision “within several weeks.” He added that he’s committed to staying in the role “as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition.”

Hampshire has faced financial crisis this year. On Jan. 15, then-President Miriam “Mim” Nelson announced the college was searching to partner with another institution in order to survive. The board of trustees then voted on Feb. 1 to only accept a tiny class for the coming fall, leading large-scale layoffs at a school where tuition and fees account for almost 90 percent of revenue.

Those layoffs hit the advancement and admissions offices first when nine full-time staffers were let go April 19. 

On Friday, Rosenthal said Hampshire is working with staffing firm The Registry to fill the roles of interim chief advancement officer and interim dean of admissions and financial aid. Current dean of admissions and financial aid, Kristina Moss Gunnarsdóttir, will be leaving the role in September, he said.

Nelson resigned from Hampshire in early April together with nine other board members, including the board chairwoman and vice chairman, amid anger on campus over the administration’s decision to seek a strategic partner and to not admit a full class this fall.

The board of trustees recently voted to enroll a full class in the fall of 2020, and the college continues to fundraise in an effort to remain independent. Enrollment will be down to 600 students this fall — half the student body of the previous year — including just 15 members of the incoming first-year class.

Rosenthal didn't give any updates about how much money the school has raised but said the college would soon announce their year-end fundraising totals. 

“As we finalize our bookkeeping for the past fiscal year, it's safe to say that, in terms of the sheer volume and pace of donations, we've never seen anything like it,” Rosenthal wrote. “We are well on our way to our ambitious goal of $20 million for 2020.”

Late last month, Rosenthal said the college has raised $4.5 million in cash toward that $20 million goal, as well as another $4.5 million in pledges toward the school’s multiyear fundraising campaign.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.
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