Vanderbilt names vice chancellor for administration

Higher ed admin veteran, current VU associate VC to replace Fife

Vanderbilt University announced today it has promoted Eric C. Kopstain to vice chancellor for administration from associate vice chancellor for finance.

Kopstain (pictured) will assume his new role July 1, pending approval by the VU Board of Trust. He succeeds Jerry Fife, who is retiring from Vanderbilt after 15 years of service, the last five as vice chancellor for administration.

“We are fortunate that we have within our ranks someone with the kind of experience and administrative skills that are exactly what Vanderbilt needs in its vice chancellor for administration as we make our way through the financial and regulatory challenges facing today’s premier research universities,” VU Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said in a release. “Eric has already proved to be a valuable member of our team, and I know that with the expansion of his responsibilities, Vanderbilt will be all the stronger.”

A 23-year veteran of higher education administration, finance and planning, Kopstain came to Vanderbilt in May 2012 from Harvard University, where he served as associate dean of finance for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

At Vanderbilt, Kopstain provides strategic leadership to, and direction of, the university’s accounting, financial systems, budget and capital planning, tax, student accounts, disbursements and procurement functions.

As vice chancellor for administration, Kopstain will assume responsibility for the university’s administrative infrastructure, a broad-ranging portfolio that includes human resources, business services, facilities and construction, contract and grant accounting, police, environmental health and safety, traffic and parking, printing services, health and wellness for faculty and staff, and equal opportunity, affirmative action and disability services.

“I am honored by the privilege to serve Vanderbilt in this role,” Kopstain said in the release. “The opportunity to work in several new capacities with Vanderbilt’s faculty, staff and students to advance our institution’s mission and priorities is truly exciting. While higher education and health care face significant challenges, the incredibly collaborative nature and commitment of the Vanderbilt community will continue to differentiate and distinguish this institution as we move boldly into the future.”

Kopstain earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in 1991 and received a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 2001.

Kopstain began his career at his alma mater in 1991, serving in a variety of roles with increasing responsibility.

In 2003, Kopstain became director of the Dartmouth College Office of Budget and Fiscal Planning. He moved to Harvard in 2006 as assistant dean and budget director of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences before being promoted to associate dean for finance. He has been credited with helping the faculty of arts and sciences, the largest division of Harvard University, navigate through and recover from the 2008 financial crisis.