GVSU appoints new vice president of finance

GVL / Courtesy - gvsu.edu 
Gregory Sanial

GVL / Courtesy – gvsu.edu Gregory Sanial

Devin Dely

After an extensive search, Grand Valley State University has selected a new vice president of finance. GVSU President Thomas Haas announced Tuesday, Jan. 2, that Gregory Sanial will assume the role starting in February. 

“We started the process in the summer,” Haas said. “We looked ahead in terms of what we needed for the VP of finance and created a search and screen committee. I wanted to make sure that we attracted the best person that we could because this particular position is critically important. We had interviews, and we had some very good candidates. All three finalists were quite talented, and Sanial was more than able to meet the requirements.” 

Sanial currently serves as the chief of staff for the U.S. Coast Guard Fifth District in Virginia, and before that, he held the position of budget director. As part of the new job, he will join the President’s Cabinet and Budget Committee and oversee all financial operations at GVSU. When he assumes his new job role, he will assist in the development of GVSU’s annual budget.

“There was a number of things that stood out (about Sanial),” Haas said. “His breadth of experiences is pretty remarkable. He’s coming from the Coast Guard, where he was the budget officer for an $11 billion budget. He’s the individual who created the budget and submitted it to the Department of Homeland Security and to Congress.” 

Haas was also drawn to Sanial’s educational background, which he says made him even more desirable as a candidate. Sanial’s degrees include a doctorate in business administration and organizational leadership from Northcentral University, a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. 

The search and screen committee that selected Sanial was primarily made up of members of the President’s Cabinet, as well as Jonathan Bowman, the current student senate president. According to Haas, Sanial will fit in well with the current cabinet members. 

“We have an array of leaders who work very closely together, both practically in the day-to-day and strategically in the years ahead,” Haas said. “We have a really great talent of individuals who’ve committed themselves to the mission of the university, and I think Dr. Sanial will be one of those individuals.”

The current acting vice president of finance, D. Scott Richardson, has been in the position since 2016. Richardson’s move toward retirement prompted Haas to form the search committee for his replacement. Once Richardson fully retires in 2019, Sanial will assume all of his administrative responsibilities. Haas expects him to flourish during his time at GVSU.

“He brings in a very important strategic nature,” Haas said. “To put it succinctly, he’s the right fit to have a long rest of his career right here at the university.”