Rutgers official Mary Lou Ortiz named new University budget officer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Mary Lou Ortiz, an experienced financial executive, will become the new university budget officer at Penn State. Ortiz, who is currently the vice chancellor for finance and administration at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, will begin her appointment Oct. 1.

Ortiz fills the position left open by the retirement of Rachel Smith in 2016.

For more than 20 years, Ortiz has worked in higher education finance, planning and administration, leading a range of efforts, including the implementation of new financial and budgeting systems and creating financial models to support organizational strategic planning. In her current role as vice chancellor for finance and administration at Rutgers, Ortiz provides financial and operational leadership to the university’s flagship campus, overseeing $1.7 billion in total resources.

From 2006 to 2012, Ortiz served as the senior director of budget and financial planning at the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization, where she oversaw the annual operating budget for the organization’s 26 overseas offices and affiliates and 32 domestic operations.

“Mary Lou will be a key driver for decision making that is pivotal to Penn State’s success and growth,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost. “Throughout her extensive career, Mary Lou has demonstrated an ability to think strategically, analyze new opportunities and collaborate with partners to implement change both within the higher education and nonprofit sectors. I am confident that Mary Lou will advance and elevate the important work of our Budget Office during this transformative period for the University.”

At Penn State, Ortiz will serve as a senior member of the University’s financial leadership team and will be responsible for overseeing the University Budget Office and for the development and assessment of the University’s budget and resource allocation policies. She will implement the University’s annual operating budget and take financial responsibility for Penn State’s complex $5.1 billion organization with 24 campuses, leading discussions about maintaining affordability for Penn State students while continuing to innovate.

Ortiz also will provide support to the Board of Trustees and lead the budget office’s involvement in broad institutional initiatives such as the implementation of the strategic plan and enterprise system modernization efforts, including the Workday human resources and payroll system and a new financial system that is anticipated to roll out in 2020.

“I am excited to be joining Penn State as the university budget officer,” Ortiz said. “Sound financial management is necessary to support the academic, research and service mission of the University, and I look forward to partnering with key stakeholders at Penn State to ensure its continued success.”

Ortiz is the former director for finance and resource administration at Princeton University and former director of planning and financial administration at Columbia University’s student health services. In her 16 years at Columbia, she served in a number of other business and finance positions, including for the Office of Management and Budget and for the Office of the Vice President for Arts and Sciences.

She is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and has presented at its New Business Officers Program, Higher Education Accounting Forum and annual meeting. She also served as treasurer of the board and provided financial advice to Scenarios USA, a nonprofit organization focused on helping young people engage with social justice and health issues.   

Ortiz earned a master of business administration, master of public administration and bachelor of arts degrees all from Columbia University. 

Last Updated August 10, 2017