Executive vice president for finance and administration named

Washington State University Cougars logo.

Leslie Brunelli will be the new executive vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer at Washington State University. 

With more than 25 years of higher education experience, Brunelli comes to WSU from the University of Denver, where she served as the senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs. Brunelli’s first day in the new role will be May 1. 

Brunelli succeeds Stacy Pearson, who was set to retire from WSU in December 2022. Pearson has since delayed her retirement to Feb. 3 to ensure a successful transition as Brunelli begins the onboarding process.

“We are thrilled to welcome Leslie to the Cougar community,” said WSU System President Kirk Schulz. “As a seasoned leader with experience at a range of public and private institutions, Leslie has a unique perspective and a thorough understanding of financial management and university operations. Her guidance will be invaluable as we look to the future of WSU.”

Closeup of Leslie Brunelli.
Leslie Brunelli

In the newly expanded role, Brunelli will oversee the financial and physical assets of WSU, including all aspects of the university’s systemwide financial and capital planning, information technology services, compliance and risk management, and real estate portfolio.

“I am delighted to be joining WSU as the executive vice president for finance and administration,” said Brunelli. “I look forward to supporting the statewide enterprise in its mission to provide high-quality, accessible education to all.”

As senior vice chancellor and treasurer at the University of Denver, Brunelli directed the university’s financial activities and generated policy and management practices to support their strategic vision. Since joining in 2019, she guided the campus financial response related to the pandemic and revamped financial reporting to provide greater clarity and transparency around university processes.

Prior to her appointment at DU, Brunelli served the University of South Carolina system in several positions with progressively increasing responsibility levels, culminating with her role as vice president for finance and chief financial officer.

Brunelli is a well-respected and sought-after voice in the industry. She has been a frequent panelist and presenter for national organizations, including the Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), the College Board, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

Brunelli earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in business administration from the University of South Carolina. She currently serves as the chair of the University of Denver Retirement Plan Fiduciary Delegation Committee and is an active member of the Colorado Alliance for Research Libraries.

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