UMass Boston Names Kathleen Kirleis as Vice Chancellor for A&F

Office of Communications | March 13, 2017
UMass Boston Names Kathleen Kirleis as Vice Chancellor for A&F

Kirleis Brings Strong Record of Public Service

Kathleen Kirleis has been appointed Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, University of Massachusetts Boston officials announced today.

Kirleis, who brings extensive public sector and higher education experience to the position, will oversee financial matters and other key functions relating to the operations of the of 16,850-student public research university. Departments managed by the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance include Campus Services, Campus Master Planning, Budget and Financial Planning, Contracts and Compliance, the Controller’s Office, Emergency Management and Business Continuity, Facilities and Human Resources.

Kirleis currently is Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services at Massachusetts Bay Community College and before that served the City of Boston for nearly 14 years in senior finance positions at the Boston Fire Department and the Boston Public Library.

Kirleis attended SUNY Plattsburgh, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Accounting, and holds a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Massachusetts bar. She presently serves on the board of the Plattsburgh College Foundation. 

Kirleis was selected for the position after interviewing with senior university officials, including President Marty Meehan, Chancellor J. Keith Motley, Deputy Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Barry Mills and Vice President for Administration and Finance Lisa Calise. She succeeds former A&F Vice Chancellor Ellen O’Connor, who left the university last month.

With UMass Boston seeking to narrow a budget deficit and also in the process of transforming the campus via major construction projects, university officials believed it was imperative to fill the post promptly and to bring in a new A&F leader “who is steeped in finance and public construction, has a deep understanding of higher education and believes in UMass Boston and its public mission.”

Kirleis, who lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband, Eric, and their four children, said she was pleased and honored to be coming to UMass Boston.

“My career has had an urban focus, seeking ways to deliver important services to Boston’s residents more efficiently and effectively, and then moved into the transformational world of public higher education. Coming to UMass Boston brings these two strands together, and I am eager to take on this new role,” she said.

During her tenure at MassBay, Kirleis worked to foster a culture of customer service, transparency, mutual respect, integrity and accountability. Additionally, the college improved its financial position through an improved budget process that more closely aligned revenues and expenses and is more transparent to the campus community.

Kirleis was Deputy Commissioner for Administration and Finance for the Boston Fire Department from 2005 to 2014, and in that capacity worked closely with department leadership to develop a robust and transparent budget process that more closely aligned the $188 million budget with the BFD's operational needs and an apparatus replacement plan to upgrade a significant portion of the department’s aging fleet. Kirleis worked with BFD leaders to design and implement organizational metrics to create greater transparency and drive performance. She served on the City of Boston's collective bargaining team in contract negotiations.

As Chief Financial Officer at the Boston Public Library, Kirleis was responsible for all aspects of financial management – overseeing the library’s $40 million operating budget and $50 million endowment -- and managed the introduction of the library's outside catering and events program.

A hallmark of her career has been working within complex organizations to improve business processes and financial performance, with the goal of providing improved service to the public.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston, recognized for its innovative research, is metropolitan Boston’s public university and offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: administration and finance , kathleen kirleis , vice chancellor

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