As Ithaca College says goodbye to its vice president of finance and administration of 46 years, it welcomes a new administrator who will lead the college toward its financial future.
Gerald Hector assumed the position on July 1, succeeding Carl Sgrecci, who will officially retire at the end of the month. The two have been working together for two months.
Hector came to the United States in 1989 from Kingston, Jamaica, on a track and field scholarship to Howard University, where he studied business administration. He said he was offered a job working in public accounting at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. after graduation.
After nine years as vice president of business and finance at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., Hector was encouraged by a colleague to apply for vice president of finance and administration at Ithaca College.
President Tom Rochon put together a search committee headed by Nancy Pringle, vice president and general counsel, comprising of two faculty members, one student, two senior-level administrators, one dean and one trustee, Pringle said.
There were more than 80 applicants for the position, Pringle said.
Rochon said he chose Hector for the position because of the extensiveness of his prior experience, his work ethic and his excellent performance.
“He engages particularly strongly when faced with a new challenge and a steep learning curve,” Rochon said. “I knew that when he’s faced with such a challenge he really rolls up his sleeves, learns new things and is really effective,” Rochon said.
Since Hector began working in his new position in July, Rochon said all the qualities he hired Hector for have manifested working alongside Sgrecci.
Rochon said this overlap was purposeful, allowing for the two to have a working relationship as Hector prepares to take over for Sgrecci.
“It has afforded me the opportunity to be able to know, sit quietly in a very passionate way, then do my own thinking and self-assessment around ‘This is what we’ve been doing, what are we going to keep doing the same way, is there anything that we need to change?’” Hector said.” “It’s not to recreate the wheel, but to see if there are any spokes missing or to see if there are any spokes tightening up. That has been very helpful for me, and it has been a very unique transition, and I do have a deep amount of respect for Carl and what he’s been able to accomplish here at the college,” Hector said.
In his term as president, Rochon has hired all except one vice president. He said he hired a new vice president to serve on a leadership team as well as to head the division and said he thinks Hector will fit very well into that team.
“So one part of the role that I know Mr. Hector will play very well is as a team member in the leadership team who understands that the purpose of Ithaca College is an educational purpose for students, and his job is to make sure we have the steady flow of resources and the effective allocation of resources in a budget that will enable us to achieve our educational mission,” Rochon said.
Pringle said Hector is going to have a positive impact on the leadership team that is working to improve the college based on the IC 20/20 initiative.
“The campus community is going to be really pleased,” Pringle said. “He’s got a lot of energy and great experience and is really ready to be a part of the team here.”
In his new position, Hector said he wants to be a member of a team that takes the college to the next level in providing quality education to young people for years to come.
“The goals are really just to see Ithaca College through to the future,” Hector said. “Higher education today’s changed in so many ways. It’s going to continue to change, and Ithaca College is making some bold steps with the IC 20/20 plan.”
“The goals are really just to see Ithaca College through to the future,” Hector said. “It’s a matter of higher education today’s changed so many ways. It’s going to continue to change and Ithaca College is making some bold steps with the IC 20/20 plan. So what I’d like to do is to be part of a team that is going to see that plan through to fruition and watch the university go to that next level … to provide quality education to its young people and that it’s here for many many more years to come.”
One of the goals Rochon said he has for Hector is to control the cost of tuition and fees for students.
“In the years ahead, we will have a very strong emphasis on significantly reducing the rate at which the cost for students goes up,” Rochon said. “That will be a new challenge that the [chief financial officer] will face to find ways for us to still be the wonderful educational environment we are, and to do the things we need to do, but with a significantly lower increase in tuition and fees.”
Hector said he is excited to continue working in higher education, because it is rewarding to see the long-term effects of his efforts on students.
“Here in higher education, you’re actually getting to shape the future, and you’re trying to produce those lives that will eventually carry on the world,” Hector said.