Kelly Sparks, OSU-Cascades Expansion, Finance Manager, Resigns and Takes Job at University of Maine

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) Kelly Sparks, associate vice president for finance and strategic planning at Oregon State University – Cascades, is moving on, as she was named chief business officer and vice president of finance at the University of Maine.

Sparks, who has held his current position since 2013, played a significant role in the creation and expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus, officials said. His last day with OSU-Cascades will be September 30. At the University of Maine, she will oversee business and financial operations for campuses with nearly 12,000 students enrolled.

“Kelly’s leadership has been extraordinary, and I appreciate the partnership we shared when I was Vice President of OSU-Cascades,” said Becky Johnson, Acting President of OSU. “She has been a creative and strategic force, building relationships across OSU and Oregon, and executing the vision of an innovative secondary OSU campus in central Oregon to serve region and state.”

Now a 128-acre campus, Sparks oversaw purchases of the complex properties that comprise it, a former county-owned pumice mine and former wrecking dump. She put together the construction and engineering teams who came up with plans that used embankment from the old landfill to raise the pumice mine floor to developable levels, saving 30 000 round trips by truck.

Sparks led the creation of a long-term campus development plan that engaged more than 1,600 community members and defined goals for a net zero energy, water, and waste campus.

She led the construction of $186.4 million capital projects at OSU-Cascades, including 228,000 square feet of academic, research, dining and student residence buildings. She also initiated collaborative planning for a student success center to open in 2024, a health and recreation center, for which campus officials are now seeking state funding, and a district of 24-acre innovation.

Sparks oversaw OSU-Cascades departments including the business office, human resources, campus security, facilities management, operations, and technology, as well as units such as child care, catering, transport and the Innovation Co-Lab.

“We are very grateful to Kelly for his professional contributions and dedicated work ethic,” said Andrew Ketsdever, Acting President of OSU-Cascades. “She helped put the OSU-Cascades campus on the path to tremendous future success.”

Ketsdever expects to announce plans for Spark’s replacement in the coming weeks.

“It has been an honor to lead and collaborate with talented teams within OSU and OSU-Cascades, along with dedicated community leaders and volunteers, and to help bring the community effort of 30 years to establish a college campus to serve central Oregon,” says Sparks.

Sparks has served on the Governor’s Regional Solutions Center Advisory Committee, the Bend 2030 Board of Directors, the CJOC Broadband Action Team, the Deschutes Public Library Expansion Advisory Committee, and on the boards of the Bend FC Timbers and the Cascade School of Music.

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