GW Hires First Vice Provost for Budget and Finance

Rene Stewart O’Neal will bring extensive experience to role.

Rene Stewart O'Neal
March 25, 2013

Rene Stewart O’Neal will join the Office of the Provost as the George Washington University’s first vice provost for budget and finance. Ms. O’Neal is currently director of planning and assistant director of the Office of Planning and Budgets at Michigan State University. She will begin her new role in early June.

Ms. O’Neal will be developing multiyear budget plans and projections for colleges and academic units, in coordination with the Office of the Provost and Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer.

“I’m very excited and am looking forward to becoming part of the George Washington community,” Ms. O’Neal said. “Being the first incumbent in any position helps you shape the position. It’s always great to have an opportunity to build something new. This role will combine my experience with strategic planning with my background in budget and finance.”

Ms. O’Neal has extensive experience working with university strategic planning, which makes her a great fit for the provost’s office, Provost Steven Lerman said.

“Rene Stewart O’Neal is the right person at the right time for this new position,” he said. “She has the experience and skills to help us implement the objectives and actions we have defined through the strategic planning process. I am confident Ms. O’Neal will help us chart a thoughtful, effective course to keep GW moving forward.”

Ms. O’Neal, who grew up in New York City, said the GW she knew of 20 years ago was an excellent institution, but had only a regional—rather than national—reputation.

“Now, the university is getting much wider recognition, with the excellent leadership of President Knapp and Provost Lerman,” she said.

Ms. O’Neal said she has personal and professional interests in mentoring and helping develop female leaders and leaders of color, and she hopes to continue exploring these interests as she becomes settled in her new role. She said she is thrilled to have the chance to live and work in Washington, D.C., with her husband and family.

“There is such a deep diversity in this city, and so much energy about politics and engagement,” she said.

Ms. O’Neal earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and social relations and a Master of Public Policy degree with a focus on higher education finance and education policy, both from Harvard University. In addition to her current role at Michigan State, she has held senior administrative positions in budget and finance at Wellesley College and the University of Michigan.

She is a member of the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education; the Society for College and University Planning; the People to People Ambassador Program; and Phi Kappa Phi, an academic national honor society. During the 2009-10 academic year, Ms. O’Neal was an American Council on Education fellow at New York University, where she focused on strategic global engagement and developing sustainable financial models for higher education.