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Ingrid S. Stafford, Northwestern University’s vice president for financial operations and treasurer, will step down from her role Sept. 1, and will serve as a senior advisor for the university for one year until her retirement on Aug. 31, 2019.

Stafford joined Northwestern in 1977 as an intern while a student at Kellogg School of Management, and was hired full time after she graduated in 1978. In the four decades since, she has held a variety of financial leadership positions at the University, each with additional responsibilities.

She was appointed vice president for financial operations and treasurer in 2014, reporting to senior leadership and the board of trustees on the university’s financial status, financial operations, risk management, treasury, debt, liquidity planning, tax and regulatory issues.

She has served under four university presidents and is a staff member for three board of trustee committees.

Stafford has played a key role in Northwestern’s debt management program, and has managed the University’s rating process which has resulted in AAA ratings from three rating agencies every year since 2008.

“If Northwestern had a hall of fame, Ingrid would be a first ballot inductee,” said Craig Johnson, the interim senior vice president for business and finance. 

“She helped create and sustain the financial infrastructure undergirding our $2 billion plus operating budget. More importantly, she has trained, mentored and advised countless business and finance staff, for which I personally will be forever grateful.” 

Effective Sept. 1, Stafford will serve as a senior advisor to the senior vice president for business and finance until her retirement. She will continue to work on key university initiatives over that year, but will also be able to spend more time pursuing other interests.

“I’ve been here 40 years. It will be 41 years by next year,” Stafford said. “It’s been a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to be of service to Northwestern.”

Stafford’s other responsibilities have included implementing the university’s technology-based solutions for improved accounting and financial services, its annual financial report filings and participation in numerous advisory and search committees over the years.

Active in board volunteer service throughout her career, she serves on numerous boards and committees both within and outside Northwestern, including those for Wintrust, Inc., Evanston Alternative Opportunities Fund, Wittenberg University, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Trinity Lutheran Church in Evanston, the Evanston Community Foundation and the Evanston YWCA. 

Stafford has received the Evanston Chamber of Commerce’s Leader of the Year Award and NACUBO’s Daniel D. Robinson Award. She is a Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago. 

A supporter of all things Wildcat, from sports to music to media, Stafford is also an avid baseball fan. She attended the 2014 Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp, playing alongside former Tiger players. Her team, Team 8, finished in second place in the camp’s tournament, with Stafford anchoring first base.

“In terms of next steps, it’s time for the next generation to take over. I followed the footprints of many dedicated financial professionals when I started at Northwestern, and believe that we have built a strong organization to serve Northwestern in the years ahead,” she said. “I have continuing professional and volunteer interests and a couple of grandchildren on either coast. It will be fun to have a little bit more fun and flexibility to be with them.”

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