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Marcia Bromberg, vice president of Finance and Administration, holds out a student housing map inside her office in North College. Bromberg, who spearheaded the new Fauver Field Residence Complex planning, is retiring from Wesleyan in July.
 
Posted 06.15.05

Vice President for Finance and Administration Foresees Hikes, Travel in her Retirement

Marcia Bromberg will retire from her position as vice president for Finance and Administration in July, but she’ll always have her footprint here on the campus.

Bromberg came to Wesleyan in 2001 to oversee all financial and administrative areas of the university including accounting, budget, financial planning, investments, Human Resources and benefits, legal affairs and risk management. She’s also the watchdog to all auxiliary services and campus facilities.

“I’m interested in all these areas, and I’ve had experience in all of them, but never all at once until Wesleyan,” she says.

Before coming to Wesleyan, Bromberg held positions at Brown University, Tulane University and the University of Wisconsin. She also worked as vice president for Finance and Administration for The Nellie Mae Education Foundation in Massachusetts.

Her initial responsibility at Wesleyan was to create a more open and understandable set of processes and documents so those who look at the budget and have to use it to make decisions can understand it better. A year later, she refurbished the entire annual budget, financial statement and long-range planning materials. The documents needed extensive rewriting.

“Marcia brought a great deal of energy and transparency to her department. Even I could understand the documents,” says Barbara-Jan Wilson, vice president for University Relations. “The Campaign and the University benefited greatly from materials and presentations that were easy to understand. Our alumni and donors were particularly appreciative!”

She also developed a new administrative staff evaluation and compensation system that rewards employees for their accomplishments. The system makes connections between employees’ personal goals and goals of the university.

“When employees set goals, they’re helping the university obtain its goals,” Bromberg says. “So this way, employees’ bonuses are based on goal attainment.”

In between developing systems for the administration and staff, Bromberg focused on student issues, such as housing. For the past 15 years, Wesleyan officials have discussed ways to bring all students onto the campus, fulfilling the University’s goal of being an undergraduate residential campus.

“The Fauver Field Residence Complex solved the problem,” Bromberg says.

By next September, Wesleyan will be able to house all but 20 students on campus.

The new housing will be environmentally friendly, built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Additional undergraduate housing, small units being built to complement the wood-frame houses used by upper-class students, are both environmentally and budget-friendly, relying on clean, low-cost geothermal heating and cooling.

As part of Bromberg’s energy conservation initiatives, Bromberg worked with faculty, staff and the Environmental Organizer’s Network (EON) to diligently look for ways to push the use of renewable energy. During her tenure, Wesleyan has purchased and implemented clean-energy electric vehicles, held its first Environmental Awareness Day in March, and planned recycling activities around campus. Most recently, Wesleyan has agreed to support Middletown’s efforts to become a Clean Energy Community by agree to purchase 1 gigawatt hour of electricity from renewable energy sources or “green energy.” This purchase will allow the city to receive a free photovoltaic cell to promote new energy sources.

“These are all things the students and staff have pushed for,” Bromberg says. “We have many environmentally-aware people on this campus who want to reduce energy usage. The faculty and staff at Wesleyan recycle like crazy.”

Bromberg also hired a director of auxiliary services, and redeveloped the university’s bookstore to provide the faculty and students with significantly improved services to meet their academic needs. She also developed the Master Planning Executive Committee and the campus’s master plan to insure a consistent look throughout campus.

“I’m so pleased that I got to be part of Wesleyan’s development,” she says. “This university has gone through a strategic planning period and emerged as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country.”

Bromberg sat on several other committees including the Space Committee, Compensation Task Force, Financial Aid Committee, Enrollment Group, the Compensation and Benefits Faculty Committee, Wesleyan Landmarks Advisory Board, the Dining Advisory Committee and the Fauver Field Residences Project Team. She’s also on four board committees with administrative staff including the Finance Committee, Audit Committee, Facilities Working Group and Real Estate Working Group.

"Marcia Bromberg has a service orientation at her core," says Justin Harmon, director of University Communications. "She works in partnership with her administrative colleagues to serve the needs of faculty and students and the interests of the university as a whole. She is resourceful and proactive, and she has innovated across the broad range of her responsibilities."

Gil Skillman, associate professor of economics and tutor for the College of Social Studies was on the search committee that interviewed and ultimately recommended hiring Bromberg.

“Her role, in retrospect, was to bring a fresh perspective to financial management at a time, particularly with its capital campaign and new facilities plan, that Wesleyan really needed it,” Skillman says. “I certainly got a sense that Wesleyan grew on her and that she was genuinely committed to seeing Wesleyan's new endeavors succeed. I felt she brought energy and imagination to the position.”

Bromberg will leave Wesleyan in July 1, on her four-year anniversary here. She’s already planning her retirement with a lower-48 state car trip with her husband, Bill Nelson, “the loud guy at Wesleyan’s athletic games.”

“We’re going to hike as many high points in every state that we can. Well, not in the West. We know our limits,” says Bromberg, who has already hiked the 6,288-high Mount Washington in New Hampshire and the 1,952-foot high “Tim's Hill" in Wisconsin.

Along the way she may visit with her children, Tam, 31, in Chicago and Sarah, 25, in New York.

After her cross-country trek, the Miami, Fla. native plans on moving back to Ashville, N.C., where she already has a residence. There, she aspires to learn the fiddle, garden and start a Web page.

“I’ll be away, but I will always keep in touch with my friends at Wesleyan,” she says. “I tend to stay in touch with people.”

Looking back, Bromberg says her biggest accomplishment was not a new building or committee. It’s was her ability to build a team out of a department.

“When I got here, I asked how often everyone in the department met, and they said, ‘never,’” she says. “Since then I tried to hold meetings at least every other week, and one-on-one. Now everyone has bonded and they support each other and their projects. I’m proud to leave behind a team, and I hope they continue to be a team when I am gone."

By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor