Experienced leaders bolster finance, operations and student affairs

by University Communications,

Today, President Stephen E. Thorsett announced his appointment of Monica Rimai as Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. Rimai will have broad oversight responsibilities for the university’s daily operations and fiscal management. She will start August 4.

Rimai comes to Willamette with extensive leadership experience in executive financial and operating officer positions at several universities, most recently as Vice President for Finance and Administration at Portland State University. She has served as Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer for the State University of New York as well as Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance — and briefly Acting President — at the University of Cincinnati.

After earning with distinction a bachelor’s in history and J.D. at the University of Michigan, Rimai began her career as an attorney in private practice. She became Assistant U.S. Attorney in Wisconsin before accepting a position as campus counsel and then Interim Vice President for Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. An active outdoorswoman and mountaineer, she is a trustee of the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Also on August 4, Jackie Balzer will join Willamette as Associate Dean of Campus Life. Balzer is Rimai's partner and a long-time leader in student affairs at Oregon's major public universities. As an expert on support of multicultural students, students with disabilities and LGBT students, Balzer will contribute to many of the university’s programs, but her primary focus will be on initiatives related to student retention and inclusion.

In addition to serving as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at PSU — her position for the last seven years — Balzer has experience at Oregon State University and University of Oregon leading a wide range of key functions and programs. Before working in higher education, she was a professional therapist and certified chemical dependency counselor. Balzer earned her bachelor’s in sociology and psychology at Washington State University, and she earned her master’s and doctorate in education from OSU.