Kenton returns

Jay Kenton, former vice president of finance and administration at Portland State, is headed back to Oregon, after departing for the University of Idaho just nine months ago.

Kenton has been appointed vice chancellor of finance and administration for the Oregon University System, beginning April 1.

Kenton was appointed by acting OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner, who is also a former vice president of finance and administration and Kenton’s former boss at PSU.

In his new position, Kenton will chair the OUS Administrative Council, comprised of the vice presidents from the university system’s seven campuses. He will also be a key player in formulating OUS strategy to keep college education affordable in Oregon, as well as managing OUS human resources and the controller’s office.

Kenton signed a one-year $155,000 contract with the University of Idaho last June. Though his tenure as vice president of finance an administration there was brief, he is credited with helping the university save nearly $4 million through work on the Idaho Water Center Project, reducing university deficits and negotiating cheaper employee health insurance.

While at Portland State, Kenton was credited with envisioning much of the university’s expansion, possessing a knack for landing large building deals. Among his achievements were the Broadway and Epler housing buildings, acquisition of the Doubletree Hotel (now University Place) and creating the business accelerator off campus in Southwest Portland.

Many in the Oregon University System hope that he can bring some of his financial know-how to the state level, especially considering the current situation of dwindling funding for state universities.

"Dr. Kenton knows how to operate in a tight fiscal environment and still manage to keep a large institution united and on track to accomplish its objectives," said Henry Lorenzen, president of the State Board of Higher Education.