Marty Parsons will always bleed the maize and blue of the University of Michigan, but he has been transplanted to Peacock blue and white since April when he was named Upper Iowa University’s vice president for finance and administration.
A Flint, Michigan, native and graduate of Michigan’s Bachelor of Business Administration program, Parsons began his 35-plus year financing career in higher education at his alma mater. Starting out as an entry-level junior accountant, his plans were to gain a few years of professional experience at the university and then move on in his career. Parsons would end up gaining almost 30 years of professional knowledge and expertise before retiring from Michigan in 2007.
“The knowledge and skills I took from my time at Michigan has allowed me to do what I have done for the past decade — and that is assist smaller schools with whatever financial and administrative issues they may be facing,” Parsons said. “I want to do anything to not only help them survive, but also to thrive.”
Most recently, Parsons served as vice president for finance and administration at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota. In his role there, he provided oversight to operational areas related to financial management, budgeting, human resources, facilities, information technology, public safety and auxiliary services.
Longing to return to the Midwest and closer to his Michigan home, Parsons was drawn to the employment opportunity at UIU.
“As soon as I met with the (UIU) search committee, things really began to click,” Parsons said. “Everyone was open to discussion and you don’t get that everywhere. I quickly realized there are obviously a lot of good people here who share an ongoing desire to make this an exceptionally strong institution. They just needed someone to help them move forward, and that is my goal.”
Drawing from the budgetary challenges he faced at other institutions has provided Parsons a financial template to utilize at UIU. While noting that Upper Iowa is facing many of the same issues as other universities and colleges, he intends to provide information in a way that administrators can use it for long-term financial sustainability.
“I am a strong advocate for mentoring,” Parsons said. “I want to help the University get on firmer ground and leave people a plan in place that will provide a seamless transition in the case of any future changes. I am here to support the academic and student affairs side of UIU, do the job at hand, get out of the way, and let the institution move forward.”
Marty and his wife, Sandra, have two adult daughters. He enjoys spending time with his family, especially vacations together in Hawaii, and spoiling their two dogs. UIU’s newest Peacock fan also keeps close tabs on the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Lions, Pistons, and, of course, the Michigan Wolverines.