ORONO, Maine — University of Maine official Janet Waldron will leave her position as senior vice president for administration and finance to become vice chancellor of finance at the University of North Texas System, effective April 28.
Waldron has led UMaine’s office of administration and finance for 11 years, according to a prepared statement from the university announcing the move Tuesday.
“This decision has come with deeply mixed emotions as I care for and respect President Ferguson, his vision and our successful partnership at UMaine,” Waldron said in the statement. “I will deeply miss the wonderful faculty, staff, alums, my cabinet colleagues, directors, students and the campus community. One of the proudest days for me was becoming an honorary member of the UMaine Class of ’44.”
UMaine President Paul Ferguson praised Waldron in a letter to the UMaine community.
“Through her deep experience, wisdom and insightful pragmatism, she has been instrumental in the growth and development of Maine’s flagship university,” he said.
UNT System chancellor Lee Jackson said in the letter that his university sought Waldron out in an attempt to fill the position.
“Janet has been very successful in helping the University of Maine grow in size and quality during financially challenging times,” he said. “She is valued by her president and campus and was not seeking another position when we first contacted her.”
Waldron began her career at UMaine in 2003, after serving as commissioner of the state’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services under Gov. Angus King.
Waldron leaves a university grappling with a budget shortfall and two years into the rollout of a strategic plan.
The budget shortfall has its roots in a $36 million systemwide gap that University of Maine System administrators say must be filled for the seven campuses to pass a balanced budget in fiscal year 2015.
UMaine has been tasked with coming up with $9.7 million of that gap, which Waldron and other administrators expect to be able to do by eliminating 61 positions and dipping into the university’s savings. The administration has been praised by professors for not laying off any faculty members as a result of the budget shortfall.
Professors at UMaine said it will be a challenge to replace Waldron.
“She has risen to be, at least in my experience here, the most competent of CFOs we’ve ever had,” said Robert Rice, professor of wood science. Rice said he was on the committee that hired Waldron in 2003.
“She has worked tirelessly to help the university through some of the most challenging times we’ve had, including the current one,” he added.
“Janet is extremely well respected on campus not only for her exceptional expertise in finances overall, but also for her ability to find sources of funds for various campus needs that might have been missed by less capable persons,” said history professor Howard Segal.
An interim vice president for administration and finance is expected to be named this month, the UMaine statement said. Waldron’s annual salary was listed in UMS records as $169,976 on Nov. 3, 2013. In 2012, the Texas Tribune reported that the vice chancellor for administration at the University of North Texas System made $277,560 annually.
Though her new appointment begins at the end of this month, Waldron will be available to UMaine officials through the summer of 2014, Ferguson’s letter said.
The University of North Texas System is made up of four campuses, headquartered in Dallas. The system has about 36,000 students enrolled and is expected to grow to 45,000, according to its website. The system’s proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2014 was $870,582,770, according to a document presented to the UNT System’s board. UMaine’s budget for this year is $248,942,000 according to a UMS document.