Beamer Answers Call to Serve as Vice President for Finance for Bluefield College
Bluefield College has a new vice president. Sarah Beamer, an accountant and financial administrator with nearly two decades of experience in higher education, has been named vice president for finance and administration.
February 5, 2010
Beamer comes to Bluefield College after working the past two years as an independent consultant on higher education projects. Before that, she served 12 years as the chief financial officer and treasurer for Emory and Henry College.
"My decision to leave Emory and Henry was difficult," said Beamer, "but I had some personal obligations, including helping to care for my dad, who had struggled with Parkinson's disease for many years. The time helping with my dad was very special; he passed away in September 2008."
After her father's passing, Beamer continued her consulting work until the opportunity arose in May 2009 to do financial advising for Bluefield College. That project led to an interim chief financial officer roll at BC and ultimately to the permanent position as vice president for finance and administration.
"I have shared with many people that although I have been a Christian for a long time, I have felt especially led over the past two years in the decisions that I've made and the doors that have opened for me," said Beamer, "including the call to serve at Bluefield College."
Her experience before Bluefield also includes six years as a financial officer for Virginia Tech, where she established internal audit functions for the university's non-profit corporations, including its corporate research, intellectual property, private fundraising, and Hotel Roanoke. Before that, she worked five years as an accountant with KPMG Peat Marwick, one of the largest international accounting firms in the world.
Now, as VP for finance and administration for Bluefield College, she will oversee all areas of business and finance, including accounts payable, student accounts, payroll, endowment management, debt management, and financial reporting. She also will manage the areas of human resources, information technology, food services, the BC bookstore, and the physical plant, including maintenance, custodial services, and project management.
In addition, Beamer's responsibilities will include the management of a $14 million operating budget and assets totaling more than $16 million. She also will serve as a member of the President's Leadership Team.
"Bluefield College is in a much stronger position financially than it has been in recent years for two reasons," said Beamer. "One, we have a better grasp of every revenue stream and expense item that makes up our budget, and two, we simply are living within our means."
Beamer added she's excited about working at a Christ-centered college like Bluefield and being a part of the BC vision and mission.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity of evaluating Bluefield College's financial situation and working with the campus community to enhance the stewardship of our resources in order to strengthen our financial picture and better position the institution for future growth," she said. "But, I believe the most significant opportunity for Bluefield College is to grow in student numbers so that we might continue sending forth graduates with a strong faith, who are able to minister in whatever career they may choose."
Beamer earned her bachelor's degree in accounting from The College of William and Mary and a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from Virginia Tech.
A native and current resident of Wytheville, Virginia, she is an active member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, where she is involved in committee work, teaches Sunday school, serves as a member of the Council on Finance and Administration for the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, and sits on the Board for the Holston Conference Foundation.
She also is a member of various accounting and higher education professional organizations. Her husband, Johnny, teaches for Wythe County Public Schools. Her daughter, Elizabeth, is a junior at Southwest Virginia Governor's School in Pulaski and at George Wythe High School in Wytheville.