CHICAGO - After a national search, Columbia College Chicago has hired Michelle Gates as president for business affairs and chief financial officer.

She replaces interim CFO Richard Dowsek, who chaired a national search after Kenneth Gotsch left the post last year and became CFO at Seattle Public Schools.

Gates will start July 14. She currently is senior associate vice president of financial affairs at Emerson College.

"Michelle has deep experience working in complex higher education financial systems. Her ability to navigate that complexity and build systems which help provide budget transparency and strategic analysis will be a tremendous benefit to Columbia College Chicago," said Columbia president and chief executive officer Kwang-Wu Kim.

"The balance of her financial acumen, commitment to shared governance, and her resonance with the college's distinctive mission makes her a tremendous addition to my leadership team," Kim added.

Gates will work with other senior leaders on developing and implementing a fiscal and information technology strategy for Columbia College Chicago. She will serve as counsel to senior management and the Board of Trustees.

Gates has been at Emerson College since January 2012. She was director of budget and planning at New York University in Abu Dhabi, 2010-12, and director of university budget operations at Northern Arizona University, 2005-10. Prior to that, Gates was director of finance for the city of Roseburg, Ore., as well as budget and financial analyst at University of Oregon.

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