Arcadia University Appoints Joan Singleton as Chief Financial Officer

By Caitlin Burns | October 3, 2019

Profile of Joan Singleton

Arcadia University is proud to announce that, following a national search, Joan Singleton, Ed.D., CPA, has been appointed chief financial officer and treasurer. Singleton, who serves as chief financial officer at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, joins Arcadia on Dec.1.

Singleton will provide leadership and stewardship for all aspects of Arcadia’s financial resources, ensuring integrity and transparency on all fiscal matters and the promotion of best practices in finance and administration. Managing a staff portfolio of nearly 100 employees, Singleton is responsible for the Offices of Human Resources, Institutional Planning and Budget, Facilities Management, Public Safety, and Auxiliary Services. 

“Joan Singleton is an exceptional addition to Arcadia’s senior leadership team,” said Dr. Ajay Nair, president of Arcadia University. “She has impressive higher education experience and an astute financial acumen, and she has demonstrated a true dedication to student success during her career. We look forward to Joan’s leadership as we implement the University’s strategic plan and explore new opportunities and collaborations around finance and operations.” 

At Pepperdine, Singleton oversees resource allocation and budgeting, financial analysis and strategy, debt management, and cash flow optimization. Among her accomplishments are collaborating with academic deans to develop a direct cost allocation model to proportion centralized costs among the university’s five colleges and implementing global payroll at Pepperdine’s six international campuses to enhance transparency and improve timeliness of reporting. She also integrated capital planning and cash flow sufficiency modeling into Pepperdine’s operating budget process and created a tax and compliance function within the Finance team. 

Prior to her work at Pepperdine, Singleton served as vice president of Workforce and Organizational Effectiveness and Human Resources at the Milton Hershey School (2006-2018). There, she helped to facilitate the school-wide strategic planning process, including the development of the 2020 Vision, to increase enrollment, support student success beyond high school, and engage parent and family sponsors. 

Singleton’s additional educational leadership roles include serving as vice president of Finance and Properties / CFO / treasurer at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, and as senior vice president and CFO at La Petite Academy in Overland, Kansas. At Azusa, Singleton  redesigned the budget process, transitioning from a 12-month expense-based model to a 36-month revenue-focused approach, linking the operational, strategic, master, and capital plans. At La Petite, she led a finance team of 75 associates, with responsibility for strategy, finance, procurement, tax, treasury, information technology, and risk management. 

Singleton has corporate experience at Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Gable, Peritz, Mishkin & Co.; Shore, Avrach & Co.; and Arthur Andersen & Co. She has served on several Boards, including at World Vision US in Seattle since 2004, and as board chair since 2014; at Messiah College, where she was a member of the President’s Leadership Council; at Eastern University, as a founding board member and chair of the Board of Fellows, Ph.D. program in Organizational Leadership; and at Visionfund International, where she was a founding Board member and Audit Committee chair. 

A Certified Public Accountant, Singleton earned a Doctor of Education in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master in Taxation with an emphasis in estate planning at Villanova University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science in business administration and accounting at Eastern University.