Sears Appointed CSU Vice President for Business and Finance
July 6, 2021
Columbus State University has announced the appointment of Richard Sears to vice president of business and finance, effective immediately. Sears has served in an interim capacity since January 2021 and fills the vacancy left by Jeff Davis who was appointed as vice chancellor for fiscal affairs at the University System of Georgia.
Sears has nearly 40 years of higher education budget and finance experience. Prior to CSU, Sears was the associate vice president for finance at the University of West Georgia. He also previously served as the interim vice president for administration and finance at Gordon State College and spent over 20 years at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Sears is a certified public accountant and holds a master’s degree in business administration from UWG. Through his experience in higher education, Sears has overseen capital planning efforts, negotiated with institutional stakeholders and investors, and consolidated financial operations for improved efficiency.
At Columbus State, Sears has been instrumental in leading the university through many of the fiscal and operational challenges associated with COVID-19.
“Higher education finance is an ever-evolving, highly complicated environment in which to work. That is why Columbus State is fortunate to have a professional of Rick’s caliber at that helm,” CSU President Chris Markwood said. “COVID-19 presented some unique challenges and obstacles to overcome, and Rick nimbly addressed those while continuing to map out a long-range plan for CSU’s fiscal health and viability.”
In addition to navigating pandemic-related matters, Sears has contributed to efforts this spring to create a Shared Administrative Services unit to centralize and bring efficiency and equity to the university’s core administrative network. He has also led initiatives creating new student tuition payment plans, with a goal of increasing student retention.
The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance supports the university’s mission of providing quality education to its students. Departments included in the office are Human Resources, Financial Services, Facilities, University Support Services, and Enterprise Development.