FAS Appoints New Financial and Administrative Dean
Leslie Kirwan fills a critical position as the faculty works to close a $110-million budget gap.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) dean Michael D. Smith announced that Leslie A. Kirwan '79, M.P. P. '84, has been appointed FAS's dean for administration and finance, beginning November 2. Kirwan currently serves as secretary of administration and finance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a post she assumed in 2007. In that capacity, she has led efforts to cope with the state's multibillion-dollar budget gap as the economic downturn has depressed capital-gains, income, and sales taxes. At Harvard, she will be directly involved in helping Smith identify and implement the economies still required to close a budget gap estimated at $110 million in the fiscal year beginning next July 1.
Smith's announcement noted that Kirwan's state responsibilities have included budgeting, the capital budget, and formulation of fiscal policy, as well as oversight of human resources and information technology. She previously held senior management positions at the Massachusetts Port Authority and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
Kirwan, the state's first female administration and finance secretary, has a quiet confidence and a dry wit. She keeps a whip in the corner of her office, she jokes, to keep people in line during budget seasons. A staff member gave her a sign last year that says, "Don't make me break out my flying monkeys"--a reference to the Wicked Witch of the West.
Smith also thanked Cathy Gorodentsev for serving as interim dean for administration since last summer; she helped to fill in for Brett C. Sweet, M.B.A. '00, who assumed the position in September 2008 but departed in July for a more senior position at Vanderbilt.