Tufts University executive named Pacific CFO

James Walsh

James Walsh will begin his new role as chief financial officer for University of the Pacific May 16.

James Walsh, a senior financial executive at Tufts University, is joining University of the Pacific as the chief financial officer for the three-campus Northern California university, officials announced today.

Walsh has served as executive director and university controller at Tufts, the nation’s No. 28th-ranked university, since 2015. He leads a 90-person team that includes financial reporting, tax services, payroll, risk management and insurance, general accounting, research administration and the bursar’s office for student accounts.

Previously he served as associate vice president and controller at Brandeis University and before that he was assistant controller at MIT.

The chief financial officer position is new at Pacific. Currently both university finances and operations are overseen by a vice president for business and finance. With the appointment of Walsh as CFO, Vice President Ken Mullen will become Pacific’s chief operating officer, focusing on improving operations and revenue generation across all three campuses.

“We are thrilled to bring James to Pacific,” said President Christopher Callahan. “He has the ideal blend of skills and experiences and the mindset of a problem-solving entrepreneur that will serve us well as we march toward our 10-year goal of becoming the best student-centric comprehensive university in the nation.”

“The addition of our CFO also means Ken Mullen can now focus exclusively on operations, improving the day-to-day business of the university and creating new revenue-generating initiatives as our COO that will help Pacific grow our faculty and academic programs,” the president said.

Walsh earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA from San Francisco State University. He started his career as a project engineer before moving into finances at companies in San Francisco and Boston. He entered higher education finance at MIT in 2005.

“I am honored and excited to be joining University of the Pacific,” Walsh said. “I have been very impressed with the energy and passion focused on the student experience. The university’s broad academic programs, reputation, committed faculty and staff, student leaders and leadership team will allow us to reach the 10-year goal of being the nation’s top student-centric comprehensive university. I look forward to working collaboratively with university and school leadership, as well as community members, to provide the financial strategies and support to achieve that goal.”

Walsh, who will start May 16, is the latest new member of Pacific’s leadership team assembled by Callahan since he started as president in July 2020 after 15 years as dean and vice provost at Arizona State University.

Last week, Charles Moses, dean of the School of Management at the University of San Francisco, was named dean of the Eberhardt School of Business.

Last year, UCLA Dean for Students Maria Q. Blandizzi was named vice president for student life; Liz Orwin, head of engineering at Harvey Mudd College, was appointed dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science; Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, vice provost for diversity at the University of San Francisco, was appointed Pacific’s inaugural vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion; and Scott Biedermann was promoted to vice president for development and alumni relations

Christopher Ferguson, an enrollment strategist from Occidental College, started in September 2020 as Pacific’s vice president for enrollment management.

Pacific is California’s first and oldest university, chartered in 1851. The university, with campuses in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco, is ranked as the No. 19 college in the West by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education and in the Top 100 nationally.