Cornell College hires Layzell as new vice president, CFO

Cornell College is proud to announce the hire of Dan Layzell as the new vice president, chief operating and chief financial officer. 

Dan Layzell
Dan Layzell

Layzell comes to Cornell with 30 years of experience in higher education. He is leaving his current position at Louisiana State University (LSU) where he has been serving as the executive vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer. He holds operational responsibilities for accounting, auxiliary services, budget and planning, human resources, information technology, procurement, facilities, risk management, and the campus police department.   

Layzell also serves as the chief advisor to the president and the LSU Board of Supervisors on all financial, operational, and administrative matters.

After working for more than six years for a university that had eight different campuses and almost 50,000 students, he realized he missed the Midwest and the small college setting. He and his wife, Debbie, are champions of the liberal arts after graduating from Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois.

“That was one of the things that attracted me to this opportunity—my familiarity with the liberal arts college setting and the positive impact that had personally on me and my wife and certainly what we’ve been able to achieve professionally since then,” Layzell said. 

President Jonathan Brand is thrilled to welcome Layzell, who will help the college develop a new strategic plan.  

“We feel so fortunate that we have been able to attract someone of Dan’s caliber,” said President Jonathan Brand. “He’s done it all. And, as a product of another national liberal arts college, he fundamentally understands our mission and focus.”

Among Layzell’s many accomplishments, he’s particularly proud of saving LSU millions of dollars by working with the state legislature to allow the college to manage its own insurance program, working with the LSU Foundation to create a mechanism to more efficiently facilitate construction and real estate development projects across the university, and facilitating the transition to a more modern technological system for the university’s HR, payroll, and finance functions. 

Now he’s ready to get started on the Hilltop on Oct. 19 because he says the campus size will allow him to better see the impact his work is having on Cornell’s students, faculty, and staff. Layzell will oversee Cornell’s shared services and operations, which will include business services, human resources, facilities, IT, alumni and college advancement, and marketing and communications.

“I’m looking forward to being part of a new leadership structure here,” Layzell said. For me, the opportunity to come in and be part of a new team working with the president and the campus community to continue moving the college forward is really exciting.” 

When he’s not working, Layzell says he enjoys being active, traveling, cooking, and spending time with family. He’s ready for the move back to the Midwest but notes he’ll need to buy a new snowblower. He and his wife Debbie have three adult children, Katie, Megan, and Joe.

Layzell’s hire is a result of a national search with the help of DHR International.