Stephen A. Schafer, director of finance and controller at the State University of New York’s (SUNY) system-wide Construction Fund, Albany, N.Y., has been named controller and associate vice president at Lafayette. The appointment is effective July 19.
The announcement was made by Mitchell L. Wein, vice president for finance and administration. Schafer will report to Wein and serve as a member of the College’s senior staff. The appointment follows a national search to identify a successor to Paul H. Zimmerman, controller and associate vice president, who is retiring June 30 following 26 years of service to the College.
Schafer was named controller in 2006 and then promoted to director of finance and controller of SUNY’s Construction Fund in 2010. For the fund, he was responsible for the management and supervision of accounting, accounts payable, budget, and revenue units.
Prior to his appointment at SUNY, Schafer served as director of finance and business services at The Sage Colleges in New York State for five years. Sage enrolls more than 3,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs at the coeducational undergraduate Sage College of Albany; the undergraduate Russell Sage College for women in Troy, N.Y.; and the graduate-level Esteves School of Education, School of Health Sciences, and School of Management, with programs on both campuses.
Before that, Schafer served two years as capital program manager in the Finance Bureau of the SUNY Construction Fund. Earlier in his career, he served in three positions—assistant controller, associate for university financial analysis, and assistant director for financial management—at SUNY’s University at Albany.
“I am delighted that Steve will join Lafayette as controller and as a senior member of the College’s leadership and finance team,” Wein says. “Over the past decade, he has proven himself to be an exceptional partner with members of the broad SUNY community and as a valuable leader in enhancing financial controls and reporting. His expertise in the use of technology for financial and accounting operations and his advocacy for creating policies and protocols that maintain the highest standards of accounting professionalism are perfectly in sync with the goals and expectations at Lafayette.”
Schafer said, “I am honored by the opportunity to begin working with the faculty and staff at Lafayette and look forward to continuing the strong commitment to service embraced by the controller’s office today.”
Schafer holds an M.S. in accounting and also earned an MBA from the University at Albany. He earned his B.S. in marketing and management at Siena College. As an adjunct professor at The Sage Colleges since 2000, he has taught a variety of courses in accounting, management, marketing, and software applications, among others. An active member of the Albany community, he has been committed to working with various local groups and nonprofits in and near his hometown. Schafer has been active in the higher education industry with his work associated with the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers.
Zimmerman’s areas of responsibility include all external and internal financial reporting, budget preparation and analysis, accounts payable, payroll, accounts receivable, student accounts and billing, cashiering, and cash management.
“Paul has been an incredible controller and College employee— professional, dedicated, and has always provided value-added assistance to me and the entire campus,” Wein said. James W. Dicker, vice president for development and college relations, said, “Paul has been a trusted colleague and an exceptional professional for many years. He has an amazing ability to remember every detail relating to the College’s finances. We will miss him.”
Zimmerman’s service to Lafayette was saluted at the College’s annual pre-Commencement dinner May 18. President Daniel H. Weiss read the citation below in his honor.
“When you were the assistant controller, you also taught accounting as an adjunct professor. Ever since you arrived at Lafayette in 1986 you have remained a tireless and effective teacher, though now you instruct others not from the front of a classroom but as the leader of your team.
“Whether you are working with those who report directly to you, with student interns, or with colleagues from other programs, you derive enjoyment from mentoring others. One of your proudest professional moments as associate vice president for business affairs and controller, in fact, was seeing a member of your staff appointed controller at Swarthmore. You are exceptionally supportive of the professional development of those you supervise, and you never fail to acknowledge the contributions of everyone who plays a role in your department’s success.
“What your colleagues find most noteworthy about you, though, is that you care about so much more than just the end product. You value fairness and integrity in the workplace, you brighten every workday with your sense of humor, and, despite the incredibly stressful demands of your position, you have, in their words, ‘not lost one iota of your enthusiasm for Lafayette.’
“Two years ago you received the Cyrus R. Fleck Jr. ’52 Administrator of the Year Award in recognition of your extraordinary efforts to help Lafayette weather a global economic crisis. Tonight we applaud you again, Paul, as we recognize your equally impressive contributions as our colleague and friend.”