Fordham has appointed Martha K. Hirst as the University’s senior vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer, effective July 1, 2015. She comes to Fordham after four years at St. John’s University, where she served as executive vice president, chief operating officer, and treasurer. Prior to St. John’s, Hirst had a distinguished career in public service with New York City.
“I am delighted to welcome Martha Hirst to Fordham,” said Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of the University. “Her breadth of experience and demonstrated ability to oversee large and complex organizations and budgets will be of great—and obvious—benefit to Fordham, as will her ability to manage relationships among diverse government and private sector entities. Given that experience, and Ms. Hirst’s first-hand knowledge of Catholic higher education in New York, the Board of Trustees and I expect great things from her.”
At St. John’s, Hirst managed the university’s $450 million operating budget and headed its operations area. She led a team of internal and external real estate, legal, financial, and higher education experts that marketed and sold the university’s Murray Street property for a record-setting $223 million, increasing St. John’s endowment by 50 percent. She also directed the lease and fast-tracked build-out of a new, efficient, state-of-the-art facility on Astor Place in Manhattan, for St. John’s School of Risk Management and Intensive English language programs, and oversaw the university’s purchase of a 200-unit off-campus student residence, converting a long-term lease to ownership, with sustainable annual savings to the university.
Prior to St. John’s, Hirst served as commissioner of New York City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services for eight years and as deputy commissioner of the Department of Sanitation for six. She served in key roles under every mayor from Ed Koch to Michael Bloomberg, including positions in housing, intergovernmental relations, real estate, energy management, and facilities management and construction. Hirst headed the team of solid waste management planners and engineers that designed, secured regulatory approvals for, and implemented the closing of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. She also oversaw recycling education and outreach programs for the city.
“Fordham is an iconic institution of higher education in the City of New York and I am thrilled to be joining its leadership team,” Hirst said. “Fordham’s rich Jesuit tradition, outstanding faculty and vibrant campuses combine to provide the first-rate education students and their families work so hard to obtain. I am honored to accept this wonderful opportunity and look forward to working with Father McShane, members of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Freedman, and other academic and administrative colleagues in service to the Fordham community.”
Fordham’s search committee selected Hirst from a short list of highly qualified candidates. The committee was led by Robert Daleo, chair of the University Board of Trustees, along with trustees Carolyn Dolan, Christopher Fitzmaurice, and Donald Almeida, and trustee emeritus John Costantino. The committee was assisted by the executive search firm of Witt/Keiffer.
Hirst received a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from New York University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a master’s degree in urban planning from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. She has two sons and lives in Manhattan.