Bob Shea named associate vice president for business, finance and technology

Shea will fill the newly created position at Elon and oversee major operational units of the university under the direction of Senior Vice President Gerald Whittington.  

Bob Shea has been named Associate Vice President for Business, Finance and Technology at Elon University.
Following a national search, Bob Shea has been selected to fill the newly created position of associate vice president for business, finance and technology at Elon University. Shea was named to the post by Gerald Whittington, senior vice president for business, finance and technology, and will begin at Elon on March 1.

As associate vice president for business, finance and technology, Shea will report to Whittington and be a key member of Elon’s senior leadership. He will be tasked with overseeing and continuing to strengthen Elon’s financial and operational units as well as supporting senior staff and the Board of Trustees in financial and operational strategic planning and decision-making.

Shea comes to Elon from the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), where since 2013 he has served as senior fellow for finance and campus management. A 25-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and a former Pentagon staff member, Shea has spent the past 12 years in the realm of higher education in a variety of leadership roles that have equipped him well to join the team at Elon.

“We believe Bob will be a great asset to Elon University and his work here will be innovative, creative and supportive of our mission,” Whittington said. “We look forward to Bob joining our community and being a part of the continuing upward trajectory of the university.”

In its search to fill this new role, Elon sought candidates with broad knowledge of strategic financial and administrative operations. The new associate vice president will have oversight of major operational units including facilities management, information technology, auxiliary services, campus safety and police, finance, human resources and internal audit.

“Elon’s commitment to the development of engaged global citizens and the education of mind, body and spirit differentiate it as a very special place,” Shea said. “I look forward to joining the team at Elon, which is devoted to student success, and I thank the university’s leadership for their confidence in me.”

Shea earned an MBA from the College of William and Mary, a master of arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the United States Naval War College and a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He served for more than two decades in the U.S. Navy and held leadership roles in various naval aviation units in Japan, Latin America, Europe and the United States. From 2001 until 2004, Shea was stationed in the Pentagon as a director on the air warfare staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Shea’s career in the U.S. Navy merged with a professional role in higher education in 2004 when he joined the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, as director of the Decision Making and Implementation Department.

Shea left the armed services and the U.S. Naval War College in 2007 as a captain and joined the Community College of Rhode Island as vice president of administration and finance and chief financial officer. In his role with the Community College of Rhode Island, which included serving as special assistant to the Commissioner of Higher Education for the state, Shea was responsible for seven departments that included 1,200 employees and a combined budget of $145 million. His work helped support a four-campus community college system serving more than 18,000 students.

Since 2013, Shea has worked within NACUBO, the professional association for the nation’s chief business officers of colleges and universities, closely examining the economic challenges facing higher education institutions. His work as senior fellow included planning and coordinating the Endowment and Debt Management Forum, a signature event that brings together more than 350 top college and university business officers to discuss higher education finance issues, and leading the Higher Education Economic Models Project.

Along with his work with higher education institutions, Shea has been involved since 2010 with Year Up, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to provide urban young adults with the skills, experience and support they need to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Shea served on the organization’s board from 2010 to 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island, and currently serves as a board member for the National Capitol Region of the organization in the Washington, D.C., area.

Bob and his wife, Tracey, have been married for 31 years and have two grown sons.