Paul Watford named vice president of finance at Ripon College

Paul Watford

Paul Watford, a senior financial executive and educator with leadership experience in corporate and not-for-profit institutions, has been selected as the new vice president for finance at Ripon College. He officially assumes his post June 17.

“I am pleased to welcome Paul Watford as Ripon College’s new vice president for finance. He is a big thinker who understands our mission and brings valuable insights from multiple industries,” said Ed Wingenbach, acting president at Ripon College. “We look forward to Paul’s leadership as we work to evaluate business operations and devise strategies to build revenue and strengthen cash flow.”

Watford currently serves as vice president and chief financial officer at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he is responsible for the financial operations of the organization, facilities management, human resources and payroll.

He began his career as a mechanical engineer for a public utility company and then transitioned to manufacturing and transportation where he gained analytical experience with responsibilities in financial reporting and analysis, auditing and management presentation. His career progression broadened his expertise in fiscal administration and debt financing; human resources and organizational policies; and, compliance and internal controls.

He also served as an educator at the City Colleges of Chicago where he taught accounting, business and finance.

“There are many challenges that we must address, and I am looking forward to immersing myself in the community,” said Watford. “And with relentless focus on our student experiences, their families’ trust, and our staff’s commitment, we can differentiate ourselves as a leading small liberal arts college.”

In addition to being a proven executive leader, Watford has been an effective board member and is committed to keeping abreast of governance developments and principles. He was on the board of the Civic Orchestra of the Chicago Symphony, and for 12 years, a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, where he served on the capital campaign and admissions committees and participated in annual board training and assessment programs. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Ancona School in Chicago and the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Center in Skokie, Illinois.

He earned his MBA in finance and management policy from Northwestern University, his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and his B.A. in history from the University of Rochester.