Featured Speaker

Laurent Heller


Laurent Heller began his appointment as the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration in August 2016. Heller has extensive experience in budgeting and finance, higher education strategy and business operations.

At UW-Madison, Heller has worked to identify opportunities for performance improvements and to secure resources for reinvestment in the University’s academic mission. He serves as executive sponsor for major campus and system projects, including a major rework of  UW-Madison’s title and compensation structure and the design and adoption of a modern, cloud-based budgeting system. He also led the development of a new Finance and Administration Strategic Planand has displayed a strong commitment to an engaged, inclusive and diverse campus community.

Heller came to UW-Madison from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as assistant vice chancellor, financial planning and analysis. Prior to that role, he served in several key administrative positions at UC Berkeley, including director of the campus budget office and director of strategy and analysis for the Law School. He directed implementation of the university’s new budget system, worked on its first medium-term strategic financial plan and helped lead an effort to reform the Law School’s financial aid policies and programs.

Heller has managed multi-billion dollar annual budgets, long-term financial modeling, enterprise systems implementations, financial controls and accounting, and has leveraged institutional research to craft innovative strategies to improve outcomes. He has worked extensively in shared-governance environments, collaborating with diverse constituencies of students, faculty and staff in times of financial challenges and change.

He began his career in higher education at Harvard University, where he worked in information technology and finance roles for the Civil Rights Project, a multidisciplinary think tank that connects social science research with policy advocacy to advance the interests of diversity and inclusion. Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, he attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate student, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

The Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration is UW-Madison’s chief financial officer and is responsible for the overall supervision of the university’s administrative and auxiliary functions, including budget, facilities planning and management, business services, research administration, human resources, police services, housing, health services, student unions and recreational sports. The Vice Chancellor also serves as a senior adviser to the Chancellor and Provost on financial and administrative policies and procedures.