U.Va.'s Yoke San Reynolds Receives National Recognition for Her Work in University Financial Management

June 15, 2009 — Yoke San Reynolds, vice president and chief financial officer of the University of Virginia, will receive the Distinguished Business Officer award from the National Association of College and University Business Officers at the association's annual meeting, to be held June 27-30 in Boston.

"The Distinguished Business Officer award is the highest individual honor bestowed by the association," president John Waldo said. "For her outstanding contributions to business and financial management in higher education, NACUBO is proud to bestow this award on Yoke San, who is a long-time member and former member of the board of directors."

Reynolds oversees an array of financial operations for the University, including Treasury Operations, Financial Administration, Research Administration, Risk Management and the Policy Office.

She also is responsible for business operations, such as student and employee housing; Dining; Parking and Transportation; the University Bookstore; Mail Services; Printing and Copying Services; the Child Development Center and the John Paul Jones Arena.

On her watch, U.Va. has maintained its coveted "triple triple-A" bond rating from all three major rating agencies, and she recently led an initiative to sell $250 million in Build America Bonds.

The bonds are partly underwritten by the U.S. Treasury as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money will help finance $800 million in University construction projects, including several at the Health System. The University was the first higher-education institution to take advantage of the bond program, which will save $2 million a year in interest over 30 years.

Vice Rector and Finance Committee Chairman John O. Wynne said that Reynolds' work in spearheading the bond sale, like her other accomplishments, will have a huge impact on University operations.

"I've seen the respect people have for her," he said. "She has a quiet leadership style, and she is professional and thorough."

Reynolds also pioneered the establishment of a modern treasury function and internal bank, which launched during the 2004-05 fiscal year with the establishment of the Office of Treasury Operations. In 2007, Reynolds championed a legislative amendment to allow the University to invest in a broad continuum of investment vehicles. In the same year, the Treasury Operations Office implemented a computer system, enabling the University to forecast cash flow.

In his 2007-08 annual report, President John T. Casteen III lauded Reynolds' "systematic leadership" in completing the treasury infrastructure which "came just in time to help us ensure adequate liquidity to cover capital and operating expenses in the face of tightening credit and liquidity in capital markets."

Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the award duly recognizes Reynolds' contributions.

"Yoke San has earned this recognition through hard work and innovative programs, with little fanfare and with lots of results," he said. "Her accomplishments in establishing a comprehensive debt program and managing the recovery of indirect costs on research activities here at the University are only two examples of her stellar performance which we all have observed.

"I am personally proud of her accomplishments and honored that she chose to build her career here at U.Va."

Nominations for Reynolds came from colleagues at six universities. The award honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of business and financial management in higher education, normally over a number of years. Ray C. Hunt Jr., who served as U.Va's vice president for business and finance from 1977 to 1989, received the award in 1990.

Two individuals are selected every year from among nominations received from members. The other recipient for 2009 is Edward R. MacKay, chancellor-elect and treasurer of the University System of New Hampshire.

Commenting on her volunteer work with higher education organizations, Reynolds said, "My practical experience at U.Va. informs my work on national committees that deal with knowledge development for higher education finance and business. And these professional activities outside the University walls in turn help enormously with my work at my home institution.

"The exchange of ideas and give-and-take with colleagues from across the country are certainly a source of intellectual satisfaction for me, but they also allow me to test my financial plans for U.Va."

Reynolds came to U.Va. in 2001 after a decade in financial administration at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and six years at the State University of New York at Albany. She has master's degrees in economics from the University of Michigan and in accounting from SUNY-Albany. She received her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Singapore. At the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, she majored in piano, which she still plays for fun.