Announcing new Vice President for Business & Financial Affairs

Published On

Tue, 04/13/2021 - 12:20 pm


Dear Western Community,

I am pleased to announce that Joyce Lopes will join Western Washington University as our new Vice President for Business & Financial Affairs effective July 1.  Joyce currently serves as Vice President of Administrative Affairs at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, in California’s Sonoma Valley, a position she has held for nearly four years.  The start date provides considerable overlap for transition with Rich Van Den Hul, who will be retiring after a decade of exemplary service to Western at the end of summer.

In her current capacity, Joyce oversees human resources, budgeting, finance and accounting, student financial services, facilities management, risk management, safety services, law enforcement, property management, and entrepreneurial services, as well as other operations such as Title IX, Athletics, the bookstore and culinary services.  Joyce has oversight of a $200 million budget at Sonoma State and helps lead short- and long-range strategic planning and multi-year financial plans.

After the devastating Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County in 2017, Joyce led Sonoma State’s effort to acquire emergency workforce housing for the campus community at below market rates. She also developed a partnership with Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County to provide faculty and staff with affordable housing purchase solutions which led to her selection as the 2018 North Bay CFO of the Year for positive impact to the local economy and community.  After the fires of 2017, Joyce served as a member of Rebuild North Bay, and she presently serves on the Sonoma Housing Council whose goal is to focus on rebuilding Sonoma County in a sustainable way that addresses inclusive workforce housing needs for the region.

Prior to Sonoma State, Joyce served in a similar capacity as Vice President for Administrative Affairs at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California for five years.  During her time at HSU, she served on the Diversity Taskforce for the strategic planning process and as a member of the Equity Alliance of the North Coast.  She led the efforts at both Humboldt State and Sonoma State to sign the Second Nature Climate Commitment and implemented a Climate Action Plan at HSU.  She is presently leading the charge to develop a Climate Action Plan at Sonoma State and has championed the installation of a solar project connected to battery storage and a campus microgrid.

Over her 35-year career in education, Joyce has served in key finance and administrative management roles in K-12, community college, private college and California State University system institutions.  She holds an associate’s degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany; a B.A. in Business and Management from the University of Maryland European Division; and a MBA from the University of Colorado.

I look forward to welcoming Joyce and her husband Tom to Bellingham this summer and having Western gain from Joyce’s considerable experience in financial management and aligning resources with strategic priorities, as well as her innovative work with government, businesses and non-profits in nurturing public-private partnerships.  Please join me in welcoming Joyce to the Western community.