U.Va. Chief Financial Officer Yoke San Reynolds Retiring

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Reynolds’ work and programs are estimated to be saving U.Va. up to $1 billion over 30-year period

CFO Reynolds is credited with saving U.Va. up to $1 billion over a 30-year period.

U.Va. VP and CFO Yoke San Reynolds

"She has quietly made a huge impact on the financial structure at the university, and I don't think many people know the breadth of her contributions," said Pat Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer at U.Va.

As the University of Virginia prepares for Final Exercises in Charlottesville, the university will be saying goodbye to its innovative Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Yoke San L. Reynolds, who retires in May. Reynolds has had a distinguished career in finance, during which she pioneered new techniques that will save the university up to $1 billion in financing costs in the coming decades.

Reynolds made U.Va. one of the first state universities in the country to use a planned portfolio approach to structuring debt during her 11-year tenure there. She worked closely with state government to gain more flexibility to invest non-endowment funds, created an internal bank that has become a model of efficiency for public universities around the country, and was the first person employed by a university to issue low-cost Build America Bonds in 2009, capitalizing on the federal subsidy available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Reynolds, 68, has earned a national reputation for her ability to identify opportunities to capture efficiencies within universities’ financial operations. She estimates conservatively that deals made during her tenure at the University of Virginia since joining in 2001 will save the institution between $738 million and $1 billion over the next 30 years due to lower borrowing costs, increased cost recovery rates, and higher rates of return on non-endowment investments than could be earned under traditionally used models.

These savings are managed through a modern treasury function and distributed through the university’s internal bank, which provides cash to internal department and unit borrowers and investors to meet their capital or operating requirements. Reynolds said U.Va. is one of the first universities to use this model and “we are certainly one of the most comprehensive in terms of using the internal capital bank to support pan-university priorities.”     

Reynolds has had many milestones in her career. She was the first Asian-American Vice President at U.Va. and the first woman Vice President for Financial Affairs at both Cornell University and U.Va.

Colleagues praise Reynolds’ broad-based knowledge of sophisticated processes within both the finance arena and higher education.

“Yoke San is brilliant in how she sees the big picture, then puts the pieces together, and thoroughly attacks a problem in ways we wouldn’t have expected,” said Pat Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer at U.Va. “She has quietly made a huge impact on the financial structure at the university, and I don’t think many people know the breadth of her contributions.”

Originally from Singapore, Reynolds holds master’s degrees in economics from the University of Michigan and accounting and information systems from the State University of New York at Albany. A Certified Public Accountant, she received her bachelor’s with honors in economics from the National University of Singapore and holds a diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

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Amy Swindell
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