Increasing Western’s Visibility
A Western Colorado University leader has taken the reins of part of a regional organization representing institutions in 14 western United States, three Canadian Provinces, Mexico and other Pacific Rim nations.
Executive Vice President Brad Baca has been elected as the president of the Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO). The organization is one of four regional associations within the National Association of College and University Business Officer (NACUBO) based in Washington, D.C.
“Being president of WACUBO provides great exposure to Western,” Baca said. “We have more than 270 member institutions that range from the largest research institutions, such as Cal Berkley, UCLA, Arizona State, to small regional four-year institutions, such as Chapman, and Colorado College to community colleges.”
Since 1937, WACUBO has offered business officers in the western region opportunities to develop professionally, to identify solutions for issues affecting higher education, and to share their expertise with their colleagues. The parent association, NACUBO, is well known for its informational resources and professional representations of the needs and interests of higher education.
Baca rises in the ranks
Baca has been involved with WACUBO for almost a decade, being recruited by mentor Robert Moore, the current Senior Vice President for Colorado College. Moore is the former Vice Chancellor for the University of Colorado system and former vice president at Colorado School of Mines.
Moore said he recruited Baca to serve on the Small Institutions Committee in 2015, because he knew the quality of his service and skill set.
“I knew that Brad’s leadership skills and forward thinking would allow him to contribute to the work of the committee,” said Moore. “When I left the chair of that committee, the WACUBO Board considered Brad the proper person to lead the committee.”
Strong Business and Partner Relationships
Baca went on to be elected third vice president of the organization. His role was to develop the program for the 2021 annual conference that was held virtually due to COVID-19. The conference of more than 3,000 participants featured speakers such as author Tara Westover (“Educated”), Jaye and Adam Fenderson (producers and directors of the documentary “Unlikely”), and Shola Richards, founder and chief executive officer of Go Together Global.
But the organization has other benefits that go beyond the annual meeting, Baca said.
“WACUBO is known for having strong business partner relationships—including organizations such as TIAA, Moss Adams, Follett, and Sodexo,” said Baca. “As president, I will be working closely with many of the ranking leaders within these companies to strengthen relationships with the organization. This, again, provides great exposure for Western and may lead to some fruitful partnerships for our university.”
History at Western
Baca, who has been with Western for two decades, has been instrumental in creating financial stability at his institution. He has guided Western’s finances as the university’s education and general fund went from a negative balance to more than $7 million in reserves. He has also overseen investment of more than $128 million in campus facilities and infrastructure, including the renovation of academic buildings, the construction of the University Center and the Mountaineer Field House.
In addition to serving as the executive vice president and chief operation officer, Baca has also contributed as the Interim President for Western from 2013 to 2014.
Before joining Western, Baca served more than three years as director of budgets for the Colorado Community College System. He also served as a budget and policy analyst on the staff of former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer.
Baca holds a B.A. degree in Government from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. He also earned an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Baca’s term as WACUBO president commences October 5, 2021 and will extend into April 2023.
Learn more about Western’s leadership.
Author Credit: Chris Rourke
Photo Credit: Jessica Cusick