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Announcing Swarthmore's Next Vice President for Finance and Administration

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff Members,

I am excited to share with you the news that Robert Goldberg has accepted my offer to join the College as Swarthmore’s next vice president for finance and administration. Rob, who will also serve as the College’s treasurer, was identified as the top candidate among a highly competitive pool of outstanding individuals; he will officially join the community on July 1.  

Rob brings to Swarthmore deep and varied professional experience, including in several leadership positions within higher education. He currently serves as vice president, chief operating officer, and treasurer at Pomona College. In that capacity, Rob manages an extensive portfolio of work that aligns closely with the responsibilities of the role at Swarthmore. He oversees Pomona’s $190 million annual budget and its $3 billion endowment, and works closely with faculty, senior staff members, and board leadership to ensure the ongoing financial support of the college’s mission. He’s also responsible for more than 300 staff members in areas that include human resources, capital planning, risk management, real estate, and events management, as well as campus services such as dining operations, grounds, housekeeping, and facilities. He’s currently overseeing the construction of a new athletics and recreation center, as well as the design of a new global education center. Rob was instrumental in leading Pomona’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, including by helping to establish remote work policies, testing protocols, and vaccine mandates for students, faculty, and staff members.  

Prior to his time at Pomona, Rob served as the chief operating officer at Barnard College. In that capacity, he managed Barnard’s annual budget and oversaw nearly 500 staff members in areas charged with the day-to-day operations of the college. Rob worked closely with faculty committees and the provost to increase support for academic initiatives, and he supervised the construction of a 132,000-square-foot, $150 million teaching and learning center in the heart of campus that houses the college’s library. Rob was also an academic advisor to first- and second-year students interested in public policy. In 2017, Rob was asked to serve as interim president of the college, and he successfully led the institution through a transition to a new president. During that time, he established Barnard’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion.

Rob, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in international affairs and cum laude with a master’s in international relations from George Washington University, also spent nearly 25 years in government service. He was a director in the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the Department of State, where he developed and managed a $32 billion foreign assistance budget and recruited and managed a staff of more than 130. Before that, he was the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s deputy associate director for international affairs, where he was responsible for the management of the federal government’s $52 billion international affairs budget. 

I’ve had the good fortune of spending time with Rob during this process, and those interactions, combined with his extensive experience and the high regard in which he is held by his current and past colleagues, leave me confident that Rob is a mission-driven, thoughtful, and caring individual who will no doubt be a wonderful addition to our community. Rob, a native New Yorker, and his wife, Ellen, who is originally from Philadelphia, are excited to return to the area; the move also brings them closer to their son, Ben, who lives in Washington, D.C.

I am grateful to Associate Vice President for Finance and Assistant Treasurer Alice Turbiville and Associate Vice President for Sustainable Facilities Operation and Capital Planning Andy Feick for agreeing to serve as co-interim vice presidents for finance and administration through the end of June, and for Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services Anthony Coschignano, who has also taken on additional leadership responsibilities.  

I also want to thank the members of the search committee for the time and energy they invested in this successful search:

  • Leslie Abbey ’90, Board Manager
  • Khaled Al-Masri, Associate Professor and Section Head of Arabic, Coordinator of the Islamic Studies Program
  • Frank Grunseich, Managing Director of Investments
  • Rachel Head, Associate Dean and Director of Student Engagement
  • Kathleen Howard, Professor and Chair of Chemistry
  • Jaky Joseph ’06, Board Manager
  • Harold “Koof” Kalkstein ’78, Vice Chair, Board of Managers
  • Mark Kuperberg, Professor of Economics
  • Liam McAlpine, Assistant Vice President for Advancement
  • Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Sociology

Finally, I am grateful to everyone who met with the finalists and shared their perspectives with me.

I look forward to Rob’s official arrival on campus later this year. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming him to the Swarthmore community.


Val Smith