Carla Ho’a, vice chancellor and chief financial officer at CU Boulder, will retire after more than 30 years of service to the University of Colorado. Her retirement will be effective in November.
Campus leadership will launch a national search for her replacement in the spring, with the intent of having some overlap between Ho’a and the incoming CFO. Additional information, including the process and timeline, are forthcoming.
I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to serve others. Kūlia i ka nu’u.” —Carla Ho'a
Ho’a was named deputy CFO in 2018 and CFO in 2019. As CU Boulder’s chief financial officer, she has led the Finance and Business Strategy division of the university, which includes the budget and fiscal planning, campus controller, business strategy, data analytics and auxiliary services offices.
With her counterpart and partner, Executive Vice Provost for Academic Resource Management Ann Schmiesing, Ho’a has led transformative campuswide initiatives, including Financial Futures, a redesign of the campus budget model and the remission of graduate student fees.
“I was particularly pleased that we were able to implement the remission of graduate student fees,” Ho’a said. “We know fee remission makes an immediate difference in the lives of our graduate students, and it felt particularly gratifying to deliver on that change.”
Some other accomplishments during Ho’a’s tenure at CU Boulder include the design and implementation of CU Boulder’s four-year tuition and fee guarantee; the elimination of course and program fees for all students; a long-term financial plan to address nearly $300 million in campus deferred maintenance; implementation of the updated undergraduate tiered tuition structure; and implementation of a $25 million financial commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Chancellor Philip DiStefano offered his gratitude for Ho’a’s financial leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Carla approached our finances with great care and consideration,” DiStefano said. “Her decisions and recommendations produced steady results and continue to help our campus emerge in a strong financial position after the unexpected economic impacts due to the pandemic. I am deeply grateful to Carla for the devotion and attention she has shown to colleagues, students and faculty these past several years.”
Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke noted Ho’a’s leadership in areas not normally associated with the domain of the CFO.
“It has been a privilege to observe as Carla engaged in activities to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in her own unit and to help reduce mental health stigmatization, serving as a keynote speaker at the Health and Wellness Summit,” O’Rourke said. “She’s fearless when it comes to leaning into areas where she sees a chance to help others. This fearlessness and her ethic of care will be greatly missed.”
Ho’a served in leadership positions at the CU Anschutz campus, prior to joining the Boulder campus in 2013. Ho’a’s first job with CU was with the former CU Health Sciences Center campus, where she worked as a high school student. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business administration, both from CU Denver, while continuing to work full time.
Ho’a, a native Hawaiian, plans to return to Hawai’i with her husband Tim and son Keoni.
“As a first-generation student, I have benefitted from the opportunity higher education offers,” said Ho’a. “As CFO, I’ve had the privilege of reducing financial barriers for students and cultivating resources to support our amazing faculty and staff. I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to serve others. Kūlia i ka nu’u.”