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New Drake administrators take the helm

New Drake administrators take the helm

Deneese Jones and Deborah Newsom began their terms as provost and vice president of business and finance, respectively, on June 1. Both come with extensive backgrounds in higher education.

Deneese Jones

Provost Deneese Jones

As provost, Jones oversees the university’s academic division, which includes more than 70 programs of study and approximately 270 full-time faculty, as well as Cowles Library, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, the Office of Information Technology, and other related University operations.

As provost, she is responsible for ensuring and enhancing the quality of undergraduate, graduate, and professional education at Drake. Additionally, she will take a leadership role in many University initiatives and play a critical role in strategic planning.

“Dr. Jones brings a depth and breadth of higher education experience that will serve the University well,” says President David Maxwell. “We welcome her and her vision and passion for the quality of the student experience and for the integrity of the University’s academic core.”

Jones brings to Drake extensive experience as an academic, a leader, and a community builder within higher education. She joins Drake from Longwood University in Farmville, Va., where she served as dean of the College of Education and Human Services since 2005. Jones also spent 15 years at the University of Kentucky, where she led and taught in a variety of capacities, including as associate dean of the Graduate School-Recruitment and Diversity and as director and co-founder of the Center for the Study of Academic Achievement in Learning Environments. Jones was also an American Council on Education Fellow—a highly selective and prestigious program for future higher education leaders.

“I am firmly committed to being a catalyst for sustaining excellence, but also for building on the legacy of Drake as it moves forward into a new era,” Jones says. “I look forward to working with others to uniquely engage the minds of our students in order to optimize their learning experiences while supporting the accompanying needs of our faculty and staff.”

Jones succeeds Susan Wright, who had served in an interim capacity since June 2011. She has returned to her position as deputy provost.


Deborah Newsom

Deborah Newsom, VP of business and finance

In her role as vice president of business and finance, Newsom oversees a University budget of approximately $125 million, an endowment portfolio in excess of $150 million, and a 140-acre physical plant with 60 buildings.

“Debbie Newsom brings substantial higher education experience and professional expertise to her new position at Drake,” says Drake University President David Maxwell. “She clearly has all of the skills, ability, and knowledge to not only manage the University’s finances and administrative operations, but to serve as an integral part of the University’s leadership team in moving us forward as one of the country’s premier master’s universities.”

Newsom has extensive experience as a senior financial administrator within higher education. Her areas of expertise include: financial planning and reporting, budgeting, strategic planning, endowment and investment administration, capital planning and financing, human resources, business enterprises, and nonprofit taxation.

Newsom joins Drake from Eastern Kentucky University where she served as vice president for financial affairs and treasurer for eight years. She has served in various roles at several private and nonprofit institutions over 18 years and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Newsom succeeds Victoria Payseur, who retired from the position after 15 years of service to the University.