When Carol Kissal, George Mason University’s new senior vice president for finance and administration, took her first tour of the Fairfax Campus, she said she was surprised by its size and how it is being transformed by the Core Campus Project. She was also impressed by the energy she felt from faculty and staff, and how, as she said, everyone spoke to a deep university culture.
But what really stuck with Kissal was the senior who gave her the campus tour.
“She was wonderful,” Kissal said. “She knew a lot about the campus and told me many things about the campus that were not obvious to people. You could tell there is a pride of ownership among the students.”
Kissal, who comes to Mason from Emory University, officially begins on March 1, taking over from interim Senior Vice President Tom Calhoun.
“Carol is an exceptionally accomplished financial executive who has held high-profile jobs in both higher education and the public sector,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera said.
Kissal has been vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Emory since 2014. In that role she was responsible for reporting financial and accounting operations for Emory University and Emory Healthcare, a $5.5 billion enterprise portfolio. She also successfully developed and implemented multiple financial strategies, which underpinned growth through increased investments and the university’s strategic plan initiatives.
Prior to her time at Emory, Kissal spent six years as deputy general manager of administration and chief financial officer at the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, where she was responsible for developing, managing and implementing an annual $2.6 billion financial operating and capital plan.
Earlier in her career, Kissal was treasurer of Amtrak, where she managed debt and investment portfolios and helped secure more than $2.2 billion in capital improvements. She also served as deputy director of the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.
With an MBA from Pace University, Kissal currently serves on the boards of EGL Inc. (Euro-fin Genetics Lab), Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Emory Saint Joseph’s Inc., and Dining for Women in Greenville, South Carolina.
Kissal joins Mason at a pivotal and exciting moment in the university’s history. The university has again been named one of the nation’s top research institutions by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning. Mason has accounted for more than half the higher education enrollment growth in Virginia during the past decade, and it was instrumental in Amazon’s decision to locate its newest headquarters in Northern Virginia, which will create new and exciting opportunities for the university.
“Carol is the perfect person to provide the necessary vision and leadership to support this growth trajectory, develop new resources and invest in our future,” Cabrera said.
“To see what George Mason is today is just phenomenal, and that is what attracted me to it,” Kissal added. “Mason is a university that is adapting to what higher learning is for the future.”