Campus & Community

Leslie Kirwan ’79, M.P.P. ’84, appointed FAS dean for administration and finance

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Served as Massachusetts’ secretary of administration and finance

Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean Michael D. Smith today (Sept. 25) announced the appointment of Leslie Kirwan as the new FAS dean for administration and finance, effective Nov. 2, 2009. A graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Kennedy School, Kirwan has served as the secretary of administration and finance for the commonwealth of Massachusetts since 2007.

In an e-mail message to FAS faculty and staff, Smith noted that “Leslie brings to the FAS a strong background in financial and operational management that she acquired in over two decades of service to the people of Massachusetts.

“As dean for administration and finance, Leslie will lead our administrative functions and will be a key member of the University-wide administrative team,” Smith said. “Working closely with the academic deans, she will also help me continue to address the unprecedented financial challenges, as well as opportunities and priorities, currently confronting the FAS.”

“It has been an honor to serve the commonwealth as a member of Gov. [Deval] Patrick’s Cabinet, and to lead an outstanding team of professionals in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance,” Kirwan said. “I am very excited about the opportunity to join Dean Mike Smith and the entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences team, and look forward to working with them to achieve the vision for the future of the FAS and the University.”

As the Massachusetts secretary of administration and finance, Kirwan served as a member of the governor’s Cabinet, and was responsible for executing key finance and administrative duties including preparation of the governor’s budget recommendation, development of a state capital budget, monitoring and management of budgetary activities across state government, and the development and analysis of fiscal policy. She also oversaw the activities of more than 2,500 state employees in agencies and divisions ranging from the Department of Revenue to the Divisions of Human Resources and Information Technology.

Kirwan previously spent seven years as director of administration and finance at the Massachusetts Port Authority, where she served as chief financial officer of Massport. She led an 80-person administration and finance department responsible for managing all financial responsibilities of the $500-million-a-year company, including budget development and monitoring, debt finance and investing, accounting and audit, purchasing, support services, and risk management.

From 1995 to 1997, Kirwan was undersecretary/chief of staff in the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, where she served as second in command of the Cabinet secretariat. Previously, she held several positions of increasing responsibility in the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, including that of deputy commissioner from 1991 to 1995.

Kirwan earned an A.B. from Harvard College in 1979 and a master of public policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School in 1984.