The Columns

McAllister Receives Virginia CFO Award

— by on June 24th, 2015

Virginia Business magazine has named Steven G. McAllister, vice president for finance and treasurer of Washington and Lee University, as the leading chief financial officer among large non-profit organizations in the state.

The magazine presented its 10th Annual Virginia CFO Awards at a banquet in Richmond to McAllister and others in five business categories: Small Nonprofit Organization; Large Nonprofit Organization; Small Private Company; Large Private Company; and Publicly Traded Companies.

The judges — themselves past winners of the awards — recognized McAllister’s contributions to Washington and Lee’s efforts to limit the rising cost of tuition, increase employee compensation, reduce energy costs and wisely invest its $1.5 billion endowment.

“It’s easy to forget that nonprofits have to meet a bottom line, just like any other business. They were not immune to the challenges posed by the recent economic downturn,” the judges wrote in the award citation. McAllister “met the test head-on by leading his institution through an important belt-tightening program. The organization trimmed expenses (cutting energy costs, for example, by 25 percent over four years) while increasing employee salaries and financial assistance to the people it serves.”

“Responsible for a $125 million budget, this CFO also manages an endowment of nearly $1.5 billion. The endowment has benefited from a $500 million fundraising campaign, which is scheduled to end this month. Philanthropy now exceeds other traditional revenue streams in the annual operating budget,” they continued.

The judges noted that McAllister “has proven that he possesses the ability to work through the complexities of financial management while relating well to all constituencies. He is a careful manager and a conscientious steward of the resources. As a result of that stewardship, no student from a family with income of less than $75,000 has to pay tuition to attend one of the most respected liberal arts colleges in the U.S.”

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio said that McAllister “richly deserves the award for management of the University’s finances in a way that directly benefits W&L’s students and its employees. He has been a careful and smart steward of the University’s resources during one of the most challenging periods in the economy and higher education.”

For more than 25 years, Virginia Business has served as a leading source of information about the people and industries most significantly affecting Virginia’s economy. Publisher Bernie Niemeier said the awards “are a testament to the quality of financial leadership in the commonwealth. The nomination process yielded many impressive candidates, and our judges were confronted with the difficult task of selecting the top CFO from each category.”