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Last modified: Monday, July 9, 2007

IU names Neil Theobald vice president, chief financial officer

July 9, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Neil Theobald, senior vice provost and special assistant to the president at Indiana University and a professor of educational finance in the School of Education, has been named vice president and chief financial officer, subject to approval of the IU Board of Trustees, IU President Michael McRobbie announced today (July 9).

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Photo by: Chris Meyer

Neil Theobald

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A nationally recognized authority on educational finance who has served IU in various academic and administrative roles since 1993, Theobald will replace longtime IU vice president Judith G. Palmer, who is leaving the position to become director of the university's new Office of Legislative and Policy Analysis. He will assume his new position on Aug. 1.

"Neil has an extremely strong academic and practical background, particularly on matters concerning the financing of higher education," McRobbie said. "Through his work across so many of our academic and administrative units, he has developed a keen understanding of Indiana University, its objectives and the support it needs to achieve those objectives. He also is an excellent teacher and nationally recognized researcher who has dedicated himself to enhancing the quality of higher education while seeking new and innovative ways to keep it affordable and accessible."

Theobald has been vice chancellor for budgetary administration and planning at IU Bloomington since 2002 and was later named senior vice provost. In this role, he was responsible for developing and implementing budgets and policies to support campus-wide objectives in educating students, promoting research and serving the state. Over the last five years, the Bloomington campus has increased the size of the faculty by adding 96 exemplary faculty members through Commitment to Excellence funding and provided matching funds for more than $150 million in new undergraduate and graduate scholarship gifts to the IU Foundation.

In his new position, Theobald will be responsible for developing IU's $2.4 billion annual budget and aligning IU's legislative requests with its budgetary needs. Under McRobbie's direction, he will also pay special attention to issues of university accessibility and affordability.

The first member of his family to attend college, Theobald appreciates the university's efforts to promote excellence in student learning and faculty research and to serve the needs of all Hoosiers.

"A major component in providing meaningful access to IU is making sure that our students have the needed academic preparation to succeed," he said. "The university's new admissions standards, approved while President McRobbie was provost, will ensure that all incoming students have taken a set of courses identified as being tied to collegiate success. In terms of affordability, the Bloomington campus will increase undergraduate financial aid by $13 million, or more than 15 percent, next year.

"IU has made tremendous progress in the last few years in recruiting great faculty and improving the academic quality of our incoming students," Theobald continued. "We need to become even more dynamic and more change-oriented, though, if we are to maintain -- and improve upon -- our status as one of the great public universities in America."

Theobald received a bachelor's degree in economics from Trinity College in Connecticut in 1978. He then worked as a corporate executive for two Fortune 500 companies and as a high school math teacher and baseball coach before completing his Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 1988. He was awarded the Flanigan Prize for the outstanding dissertation in the field by the American Educational Finance Association.

Theobald came to IU in 1993 to teach educational finance in the School of Education and lead efforts, funded by the Lilly Endowment, to improve the process by which the state of Indiana allocates $7 billion annually to its K-12 public schools. His work centered on a single overriding question: How can state and local decision-makers allocate resources more effectively to bring about needed educational change?

His research interests in educational finance are reflected in more than $1.5 million in funded research projects, numerous books and book chapters, dozens of articles published in professional journals and nearly 50 policy reports for state governments across the United States and for the federal government.

In 1995, the University Council for Educational Administration presented Theobald with the Culbertson Award as the professor who, in the first seven years of his career, made the most outstanding contribution to the profession. He received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the College of Education at the University of Washington in 2003 and is a three-time winner of IU's Teaching Excellence Recognition Award.

In addition to serving as president of the American Education Finance Association in 2000-01, he has been a faculty member at the University of Washington and a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

He lives in Bloomington with his wife, Sheona Mackenzie, a school psychologist in the Monroe County schools. The couple has three children.