Deb Thomas has been named interim vice chancellor for business and finance at the University of Nebraska Medical Center effective July 1. Thomas, currently a senior associate vice chancellor, has been with UNMC since 2006 when she joined as associate vice chancellor for finance and business services.
“Deb Thomas is a consummate professional who has been involved in all aspects of the business and finance department,” said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. “While it is difficult to replace Don Leuenberger, with his nearly 30 years of experience in this role, I’m pleased that Deb will be in this interim leadership role. With her intimate knowledge of the department and the help of her committed and innovative colleagues, I know the department will continue to run in its usual efficient and effective manner.”
In her role as senior associate vice chancellor for business and finance, Thomas oversees the finance and business infrastructure for the campus including: general accounting; sponsored programs accounting; purchasing and material services; recycling; student housing; mail services; printing, risk management; real estate rental and acquisition; and the campus bookstore.
“I have a deep and abiding passion for UNMC, its mission and the people,” Thomas said. “I am tremendously humbled to be asked to fill Don’s shoes, but looking forward to working with amazing colleagues on exciting projects and opportunities.”
Thomas credited Leuenberger, who had been vice chancellor of business and finance since 1988, for his impact on UNMC.
“Don has been the mortar that held UNMC together during its explosive physical growth and reputational ascendancy over his three decades of service,” Thomas said. “But more importantly, he is brilliant at assessing strategic opportunities to invest in, and many of those drove the growth and ascendancy.”
Before joining UNMC, Thomas spent seven years as the assistant vice president for administration for the University of Nebraska, Central Administration. Her career also includes more than 20 years in state government, including serving as policy secretary for the Nebraska Health and Human Services System, director of the Department of Administrative Services and director of several individual agencies within the Health and Human Services System, including Medicaid for both Republican Gov. Kay Orr and Democratic Gov. Ben Nelson.
Thomas graduated with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Illinois State University and earned a master of public administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.