Spotlight on Volunteers

Randy Ellis

Randy Ellis

Chief Accounting Officer / Controller, Virginia Community College System

Number of Years in Higher Education: 19

Involvement with SACUBO

I have been involved with SACUBO on various committees since 2007. I was on the Research Universities Constituent Committee while I was at the University of Virginia and am now the Chair of the Community Colleges Constituent Committee. I spoke at the Fall Workshop in Lexington, KY. I have been a big advocate of SACUBO here in Virginia spreading the many great ways SACUBO helps higher education.

An Interesting Fact

In addition to being a High School Football coach for over 15 years, I was also an amateur powerlifter in my late 20’s and through my 30’s.

Decision to Volunteer with SACUBO

I have praised SACUBO for many years to my colleagues. The networking I have done over the years through SACUBO and the information sharing have been invaluable to my career. Having access to not only the professional development SACUBO offers, but also the peer network of higher education business professionals, is an awesome resource. I encourage anyone and everyone to get involved with SACUBO.


Kelly Epting

Kelly Epting

Associate Vice President for Finance and Budget; Chief Financial Officer of the South Carolina Research Foundation, University of South Carolina

Number of Years in Higher Education: 17

Involvement with SACUBO

I began attending conferences 12 years ago when I was in the Deans office of the business school. I have been on the Research Universities Constituent Committee for three years, serving this year as its Chair. I presented at an annual meeting with colleagues to promote the special leadership programs SACUBO and NACUBO offers, and I have helped evaluate nominees for SACUBO’s Distinguished Service Award.

An Interesting Fact

I have performed in an award-winning Steel Drum Band (best musical float, St. Patrick’s Day Five Points, Columbia, SC).

Decision to Volunteer with SACUBO

SACUBO conferences and members have been essential for my career development. Fall Workshops and Annual Meetings provide quality content on all aspects of higher ed. SACUBO has provided leadership training to help me assess my own skills and be aware of what I bring to my institution via SACUBO’s Next Generation Chief Business Officers program and the NACUBO Fellows Program. My SACUBO colleagues have given freely of their wisdom and ideas so that I may provide better service to my institution. This is a group of selfless and authentic professionals, and I feel encouraged and enlightened spending time with them. By volunteering, I can continue the conversations and contribute my own experiences with those new to higher ed.


Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner

Chief Financial Officer, Wofford College

Number of Years in Higher Education: 8

Involvement with SACUBO

I have been attending SACUBO conferences since I began my career in higher education in 2013. My first conference was the 2013 Fall Workshop in Charlotte, where I also attended the Next Generation Chief Business Officers Conference. I currently Chair the Small Institutions Constituent Committee (serving since 2019) and serve on the Investment Committee (since 2020). I have presented at three SACUBO conferences and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know fellow leaders in higher education.

An Interesting Fact

When I was a child, I lived in the Netherlands for four years and remain (somewhat) fluent in Dutch.

Decision to Volunteer with SACUBO

I got involved in SACUBO because I believe SACUBO’s professional education is second-to-none in the higher education market. I find the conferences especially valuable for those of us who work at smaller institutions like Wofford. It was only natural, after benefitting from these experiences over the course of my first six years working in higher education, to begin trying to give back to the organization.


Valarie Van Vlack

Valarie Van Vlack

Treasurer, Texas State University

Number of Years in Higher Education: 27

Involvement with SACUBO

I am fairly new to SACUBO. I moved to the Southern region about 14 years ago from the northeast, where I spoke and participated in EACUBO. I am the chair of the Comprehensive and Doctoral Institutions Constituent Committee and serve on the Board. I have also served on the Best Practices review committee.

An Interesting Fact

I was ranked nineth in the nation by NASTAR for downhill ski racing when I was in my teens.

Decision to Volunteer with SACUBO

Professional development is so important to keep up to date on current issues and allow members to receive CPE certification credits. I feel I bring a different viewpoint as I am in the Treasury function and oversee the Student Business Services function. I also have experience for years in the Treasury Institute conferences. I think it is everyone’s responsibility to help share innovative ideas and help educate colleagues. By getting involved you help the organization succeed and you also build long-lasting relationships.

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