Ottawa, Kan. (Nov. 10, 2021) – Ottawa University is pleased to announce the hiring of Craig Kispert as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Kispert brings more than 33 years financial experience to OU, most recently as the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration at Seattle Pacific University.
“After serving one institution for almost three decades, the last eight as CFO, I look forward to bringing all that experience and understanding to this new role for me at Ottawa University,” said Kispert. “From an outsider's perspective, Ottawa has the breadth and depth of educational delivery modes that position it well for continued growth in a competitive marketplace. I understand the level of activity and energy it has taken to get to this point, but that all should bode well for the future of OU. I look forward to playing a role in keeping that future bright. I'm thankful for the early welcome I have received from those at the University, and my wife and I are excited to make this move and begin the work.”
While at Seattle Pacific, Kispert led operational areas with 125 FTE staff and oversaw the financial and administrative operations for the University. He was involved with entity-wide budget planning, financial model development for new business opportunities, debt structuring and management and campus master planning. During the pandemic, Kispert played a key role in identifying new and alternative ways to conduct operations while navigating the unique challenges the crisis presented. A private university founded in 1891 and located just outside downtown Seattle, SPU has more than 3,000 students enrolled in its 174 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs
“After more than a quarter century at one of America’s leading Christian universities, Craig Kispert brings a wealth of experience in higher education finance and operations to OU,” said Dr. Bill Tsutsui, President & CEO of Ottawa University. “I am impressed by Craig’s skills and smarts, but just as importantly, by his genuine embrace of Ottawa University’s mission. I am excited to welcome him to the leadership team and to get right down to work with him on a range of projects critical to OU’s ongoing growth.”
Kispert spent 28 years at Seattle Pacific, beginning his career as the University controller. During his tenure, he served as a board member and Vice Chair of the Seattle Pacific Foundation which has the responsibility to manage and invest the University’s endowment funds. He also spent nearly 15 years as a member of the Mid-Western Higher Education Compact Master Property Program, an innovative and collaborative venture that provides comprehensive property insurance coverage tailored to the needs of college campuses.
Kispert will begin his duties on December 6. He succeeds outgoing Executive Vice President and CFO Clark Ribordy who announced his retirement after 12 years with OU. Ribordy was at the forefront of the development of OUAZ and the ongoing improvements and expansion at the OUKS campus.
“Clark Ribordy has served Ottawa University extraordinarily well over his twelve-year term of service, said Kevin Eichner, Ottawa University Chancellor Emeritus. “He was one of my first senior appointments and proved himself from the very beginning. He has been instrumental in major financings, bank relations, the development of our reporting and IT systems, facilities development and management, legal and contractual relationships, HR, compliance, and of course finance and accounting. Our institution has grown and prospered during the time of Clark’s work here, and he can retire knowing that he put both of his large handprints on so much of the success we have enjoyed. He has been a tireless and insightful colleague and personal friend and has earned the trust and respect of our board of trustees as well as all who have worked closely with him. His level of institutional knowledge and the scope and scale of his work will not easily be emulated. That is the reason that we set the bar very high for securing a suitable successor, and why we believe that Craig Kispert is just such an individual who will do justice to the roles that Clark has so ably executed over his years with us. We wish Clark, Della, Mesa and Dillon all of the very best and thank Clark for the terrific contributions he has made.”