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Lehigh Carbon Community College


Seven years ago, the Reinhardt campus looked very different. If you walk the grounds or into any building today, improvements are evident, thanks to the leadership of Stephanie Owens, Chief Finance Officer and Vice President for Finance and Administration (CFO/VPFA). “If you look at the campus now, it’s gorgeous,” she says proudly. Her capital budgeting planned and executed renovations and repairs affordably.

Behind the scenes, Owens wrote the financial and campus ten-year accreditation reports, applied for and was awarded grants, implemented financial procedures and protocols to improve management and forecasting, reduced contract costs, and produced an extremely efficient budget system. Since 2017, her financial savvy, coupled with overseeing operations and facilities has made her an unmatched asset.

Owens now looks toward retirement and the opportunity to travel, spend time with family, and revisit past hobbies. She was originally hired as an interim, but within two weeks, her impact was so profound that she became permanent CFO/VPFA. She takes with her the pride of knowing her career left several higher education institutions better poised for continued success.

Major accomplishments at Reinhardt include spearheading the 45 million-dollar USDA project, which constructed the 192-bed Eagles View residence hall, the 300-seat University Theater, and the expansion of the Gordy Dining Hall, all at the same time as a library renovation. She played a pivotal role in securing finances, managing construction operations, overseeing the projects’ budget, and other important details. Owen’s leadership ensured the buildings were completed and operational by the Fall 2018 semester. She recalls this was “the best cooperative team you could imagine.”

Those who work closely with Owens say she always maintains a calm demeanor which proved pivotal in navigating through any crisis or stressful situation. Her executive administrative assistant, Amy King, reflects, “Including the unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a positive outlook was crucial in achieving our goals, including securing various government funding, despite skepticism and obstacles.”

Cabot Howell, Reinhardt’s Chief Information Officer praises another accomplishment, “She created budgeting which brought about a multi-year strategy for campus technology and building maintenance. Without a dedicated budget and plan there would not have been the funds to increase our internet capabilities, cybersecurity, classroom technology upgrades, new computers for staff, faculty, and labs, and campus security with Public Safety resources and cameras.” Chief of Police Jay Duncan agrees, “Stephanie has spearheaded multiple projects and technology improvements which have made the Department of Public Safety better equipped and made Reinhardt a safer campus. I hope that she and her husband, Greg, can spend quality time together and enjoy retirement. We wish her well and are grateful for her unwavering support and leadership.”

“It has been an absolute pleasure working with Stephanie,” said Jeff Dale, Director of Facilities. “She has been an integral part in getting the campus to where it is today. The much-needed changes to the academic and residential buildings and campus grounds would not have been possible without her support and cooperation. Stephanie has made a lasting impact on this campus that people will see and enjoy for years to come. I wish her nothing but the best in the years to come because she absolutely deserves it!”

Throughout her tenure, Owens oversaw Information Technology, Public Safety, Dining Services, Facilities, Human Resources, the Business Office, Risk Management, the General Store, contract negotiations, budgeting, and legal.  She says with the current leaders of those teams, “The school is in great hands. You can’t get any better. I will miss them.”

The feeling is reciprocal. Parker Adams, General Manager of Metz Culinary Management said, “Over the last six years that I have been at Reinhardt, Stephanie has been one of my biggest supporters and has allowed me the freedom to see out my vision for the dining program. Her guidance and encouragement will truly be missed. It has been an honor to be part of her team and I wish her well in her retirement.” “Stephanie is dedicated and very, very, detailed oriented. She is easy to talk to and always has time to listen,” added Beverly Smith, Business Office Controller. “I hope in her retirement that she cruises to her heart’s content and visits many new places. And I hope that she never has to look at a spreadsheet again!”

University President Mark Roberts, Ph.D. appreciates all Owens has accomplished to support Reinhardt and recalled, “Upon arrival, Stephanie began in earnest building a high-functioning business office. Today, we have an effective group of loyal Reinhardt folks who make a difference every day. Stephanie also ensured that Reinhardt’s contractual agreements with several valued service vendors were fair for the University and that we got the best of the best in terms of general management. That is still true today.  Further, in a crisis, you want Stephanie Owens right by your side: When the University experienced a ransom attack, she rose to the occasion and led the University through significant issues to ensure we returned to normal business, secured our operations, and maintained insurance coverage for such events.  During the global pandemic, Stephanie and her team led the way in terms of ensuring the campus was safe and that the University received its portion of COVID relief funds, all of which ensured the stability of the University during this unprecedented time. Stephanie is tenacious and persistent. If there is a problem to solve, she will solve it. Stephanie is also a person of loyalty, ensuring that she protects the University and those who work under her leadership.”

Owens’ successor, Dr. Joseph Wiegand, takes over the role of CFO/VPFA on July 1. Until then, she will remain in a hybrid capacity, taking time off to enjoy a few cruises and attend the US Border Patrol’s 100th-anniversary event in Texas. She says she is leaving with “processes and people in place to ensure that operations continue smoothly. We have qualified people, and Joe can learn from them because mentoring goes both ways. I think his transition to Reinhardt will be much easier with his prior experience and a dedicated staff to greet him. This is a relationship job, and you depend on your people.”

King sums up Owens’ legacy, “She effectively revitalized our campus infrastructure, enhancing not only the overall appearance and functionality of our facilities but also reflecting our commitment to prudent management of university resources.”