Sharon Hewitt Watkins, CPA, was appointed Vice
President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer at St.
John’s University in January 2013.
Ms. Hewitt Watkins brings to St. John’s an impressive record of
accomplishments in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
She started her career in 1989 as an auditor with KPMG, LLP,
specializing in audits of higher education and not-for profit
organizations. St. John’s was, in fact, her first higher education
client — working with the University sparked her interest in
getting involved with mission-driven institutions and, in
particular, organizations committed to social justice. She wanted
to help individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds reach their full
After nine years with KPMG, Ms. Hewitt Watkins moved to the
higher education sector when she was named controller of Teachers
College, Columbia University. Responsible for fiscal management,
investment and cash management, reporting and administrative
services, she led initiatives designed to streamline business
processes and enhance collaborative policy development.
In 2004, Ms. Hewitt Watkins became Assistant Vice President for
Finance and Controller of the New York Public Library; she was
promoted to Vice President for Finance and Assistant Treasurer four
years later. In that capacity, she directed, controlled and
coordinated all financial activities of the $265-million New York
City cultural and educational icon, including all branch and
research libraries within the system. She has developed and
implemented policies and procedures in a variety of areas to
improve efficiency and response times; has participated in
strategic planning and diversity initiatives throughout her career;
and has been responsible for all usual business activities,
including coordination and facilitation of both internal and
external audits, preparation and presentation of major financial
reports and oversight of functions related to financial management
Ms. Hewitt Watkins holds a B.S. in Accounting from the Stern
School of Business at New York University and an M.A. in
Social-Organizational Psychology, which she earned at Columbia
University, Teachers College. She is a member of several
professional accounting organizations and was a participant in the
Harvard University Business School Commonfund Endowment Institute.
The parents of one daughter currently in college, Ms. Hewitt
Watkins and her husband reside on Long Island.