LAWRENCE — Leisa Julian, an experienced financial administrator who has spent her career working in the public sector, will join the University of Kansas as vice chancellor and chief financial officer Feb. 15.
Julian works as associate vice president for business and auxiliary services for Ball State University. Theresa Gordzica, KU’s current chief financial officer, is retiring from the position she has held since 1997.
The chief financial officer reports to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and provides leadership for KU’s finances and business operations on the Lawrence and KU Medical Center campuses. The position is responsible for developing financial policy and organizing, overseeing and monitoring KU’s fiscal planning.
“I’m humbled and honored to have been selected to serve in this role,” Julian said. “These are exciting and challenging times for KU, and I am looking forward to joining Chancellor Gray-Little in advancing the mission of the university.”
At Ball State, Julian analyzed and reorganized staffing levels to achieve nearly $3 million in savings over several years, led a transition from traditional purchasing to strategic procurement practices and led the planning process for a significant expansion to Emens Auditorium, a performing arts center.
Before her work at Ball State University, Julian worked as chief financial officer and general counsel at the Public Employees’ Retirement Fund of Indiana, and also as the city controller of Anderson, Indiana, where she managed the budget for a community of more than 55,000 people.
“We were impressed with the depth, quality and variety of budget experience that Leisa has acquired over the course of her career. Not only does she bring important campus-based experience, but a wide array of relevant experience from state and local government as well,” said Reggie Robinson, director of KU’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, who served as the chair of the search committee for the position. “Because she possesses the comprehensive set of attributes this position requires, Leisa stood out in a field of very strong candidates in what was truly a national search.”
Julian earned a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Ball State University, and a law degree from Indiana University.
Gordzica is retiring from the chief financial officer position after a 34-year career at KU. She began work as a student assistant working for Keith Nitcher, KU’s longtime director of business affairs, and rose through the ranks to become chief financial officer. She was named a KU Woman of Distinction in 2014.
“We are pleased to welcome Leisa to the University of Kansas. Her experience managing financial resources in higher education and in the public sector are a great fit for this position, and I look forward to working with her,” Gray-Little said. “We also thank Theresa for her many years of dedicated service to KU. The university is better because of her leadership, and she will be greatly missed.”