Reynolds puts love of numbers
to work for University
by Ian Bradshaw
San Reynolds has tackled some of U.Va.s thorniest problems
since joining the University in 2001, including implementation
of Oracle and leading the U.Va. team in negotiating indirect
cost rates for research contracts.
By Matt Kelly
Yoke San Reynolds, numbers and mathematics help define ideas and
like a whole language, she said. If youre comfortable
with the grammar and the vocabulary, you can have a lot of fun
fun for her is a benefit to the University.
vice president for
finance, has tackled some of the Universitys thorniest
problems since starting in 2001. Overseeing U.Va.s business
and financial operations, she has been deeply involved in the
implementation of Oracle, a financial and human resources planning
system, and led the U.Va. team in negotiating indirect cost rates
for research contracts.
she faces other issues, such as University housing policy, financial
aid and workforce diversity.
is a good time to look at our housing vision, she said,
noting that first-year dorms, built in the 1960s and 1970s, need
to be either renovated or replaced.
changing times and tuition affect financial aid.
have not had a very sophisticated model for projecting financial
aid requirements. Part of that is because for so many years the
tuition has been controlled by the state, and the financial aid
is an end result of that, she said. But now, looking
ahead with greater flexibility in setting our own tuition, I think
there will be major challenges and opportunities in financial
has also been working with Senior Vice President for Development
and Public Affairs Robert D. Sweeney, Vice
President and Provost Gene Block and Chief Human
Resource Officer Thomas E. Gausvik on workforce diversity.
need to know how to deal with employees in a sensitive way, not
just in terms of racial issues, but like the golden rule,
said Reynolds, who wants supervisory training to include conflict
management, mentoring and promoting from within. We need
to identify employees we could advance.
has been an extraordinary addition to the leadership team of the
University, Sweeney said.
adds a high level of competence, as well as a quiet elegance,
to everything that she does, said Sweeney. In my area,
we have come to count on Yoke Sans counsel on University-affiliated
foundations, sponsored research and financing the development
escape work stress, Reynolds plays classical and jazz piano.
can experiment with different ways of expressing myself through
the music, focus on specific passages that I want to master but
also try to frame the whole piece, she said.
accomplished in the kitchen, she specializes in Southeast Asian
and Northern Italian cuisines.
found the philosophy behind Northern Italian cooking simple
preparations that do not mask the natural flavors of fresh ingredients
similar to Southeast Asian cooking.
in Singapore, Reynolds earned a bachelors degree in economics
at the National University of Singapore then attended the University
of Michigan for her masters degree in economics.
Michigan, Reynolds met her husband, Bruce, currently an economics
professor at U.Va., who introduced her to wilderness camping.
love being out in nature, she said. You realize when
you go on a canoe trip that you cant control nature. In
the wilderness, you have to plan your life around nature.
Michigan, the Reynoldses moved to Schenectady, N.Y., where he
took a teaching post at Union College. They started their family,
and as the children, Katherine and Christopher, grew older, she
entered the workforce, eventually becoming a deputy controller
for the federal government.
1981, Bruce Reynolds took a sabbatical and the family spent a
year in China. Yoke San got to venture to her ancestral homeland
for the first and only time.
had an idealized vision of what I would find, she said.
I expected that people had a reasonable chance at a good
life, because the old feudal system was gone. That was true to
a certain extent, but I found there was a new feudal system, based
on political power instead of land-owning power.
leaving China, Reynolds got a masters degree in business
from State University of New York at Albany, then became a certified
to SUNY Albany as the assistant to the vice president for finance
and business, she was given the task of straightening out a computerized
student accounts system. She was told it would take three years
to correct the problems; she did it in three months.
six years at SUNY in three different financial positions, Reynolds
became controller for Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. She dove
into negotiating indirect cost recovery rates for federal research
contracts already five years in arrears. In her 10 years at Cornell,
she negotiated 18 years of rates for the university and worked
her way up to vice president.
not looking for a challenge, one came to her. She was approached
about the newly created post at U.Va.
Reynolds was impressed with U.Va. and intrigued by the possibilities
of the position, she declined, only agreeing to an interview after
being pressed twice by a professional recruiting firm. Her dealings
with Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief
operating officer, convinced her.
answered me directly and sincerely, she said of her interview.
I said I was looking for a boss with integrity, not just
integrity in business transactions, but personal integrity, somebody
who is not working toward a personal agenda.
She said Sandridge has a strong reputation for leadership.
can accomplish much more when a university has strong leadership,
she said. V