Sparks named vice president for finance and administration, chief business officer

Kelly Sparks, associate vice president of finance and strategic planning at Oregon State University Cascades, has been named vice president for finance and administration, and chief business officer at the University of Maine, with a dual report to the University of Maine System, effective Oct. 11.

She fills the position of Joanne Yestramski, who had a two-year term at UMaine beginning in 2020.

“Kelly’s depth of experience will be invaluable in advancing our R1 university and its regional campus,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “Higher education is facing fiscal challenges related to the pandemic and demographics, but at UMaine we also have exceptional opportunities for growth and innovation with the transformative investment by the Harold Alfond Foundation. Kelly will have a critical role in these initiatives and in partnering with the University of Maine System.”

Sparks’ nearly 30-year career in financial management and business strategic planning includes work in international retail with Nordstrom and Coach, and in higher education. She also helped launch a nonprofit organization to create an early childhood development center in Washington state.

She served as associate dean of finance and operations for the University of Oregon School of Law from 2011–13 before joining the Oregon State University community. As the finance and operations leader at OSU-Cascades, Sparks has helped lead the expansion of the new and first university branch campus in the OSU system. 

Sparks has an MBA and a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Washington University in St. Louis.

“I am thrilled to be joining the University of Maine and System,” Sparks says. “I look forward to continuing a legacy of strong financial management and bringing creative ideas to support growth in years to come.”