Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs

March 12, 2010


I am writing to let you know that Mr. Richard Van Den Hul has accepted Western’s offer to become Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs.

This is good news for our university for, as I consulted with many on campus, it is clear that Mr. Van Den Hul brings the leadership and listening talents you told me were of highest priority in helping us, together, address immediate challenges and prepare for further achievements. His assets include a team orientation in working with campus leaders (the other vice presidents, yes, but also governance and union leaders, deans and directors); a demonstrated service orientation; documented ability to collaboratively, continually and critically examine and improve key support practices and processes; and strong strengths in fiscal and budget management. Additionally, “Rich” has had extensive and valuable “hands on” experience working directly with state-level policy makers. Although he is very successful and greatly valued in his current position, he has a self-evident excitement about joining and serving Western.

This appointment was made after consulting with our very strong directors in the vice presidential areas, the search committee, vice presidents, and governance leadership as well as after consideration of extensive campus feedback. There appeared to be consensus that we had three very strong finalists, any of whom could serve us effectively but that, given our immediate and future requirements, Mr. Van Den Hul was the best fit. I do also want to assure you, though, that we did not rely on personal impressions alone. There was extensive reference checking prior to selecting the finalists. And, once the selections were made and became public, we all did extensive “off list” checking, for past performance is the best predictor of future outcomes. These calls uniformly reinforced our high appreciation of Rich as a person and as a professional.

Such positive outcomes do not just happen, particularly at times like this when professional and personal considerations make moves extra challenging. Western’s reputation was very helpful. But, we owe great thanks to the entire search committee, so ably led by Vice President Coughlin, and all of whom put in long hours on our behalf. I also want to personally thank Ms. Liz Sipes who, in addition to her already full commitments, very ably supported the search.

Please also join with me in recognizing and thanking Ms. Kathy Wetherell for her willingness to step in on short notice and provide interim service in the Vice President’s role. I often observe that one of the most difficult roles in university administration is to be an interim anything. Kathy’s willingness to provide this service is deeply appreciated.

Mr. Van Den Hul will assume responsibilities as Vice President on July 8th, and we look forward to working together in preparing for that transition as well, of course, as thereafter.

Finally, a comment that Rich shared, with excitement and with a smile, during the exit interview: “Marketing as an agenda item? You are already doing a phenomenal job and I am sold: I have never talked to so many so positive about a university and a community.”

My best,


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