About Sarah Chinniah

MU's Vice Chancellor for Business Operations & Strategic Initiatives

Sarah Chinniah serves as MU’s vice chancellor for business operations and strategic initiatives. With more than 20 years of experience, Chinniah has been a key decisionmaker and leader in finance, operations and information technology within higher education. In her role at MU, Chinniah oversees Business Operations, including Campus Dining Services, A.L. Gustin Golf Course, KOMU-TV, Missouri Student Unions, Parking & Transportation Services, Print & Mail Services, Show-Me State Games, University Concert Series and University Stores. Additionally, she provides critical leadership to key revenue strategies related to Mizzou Forward and cross-cutting strategic initiatives in Finance, HR, IT and Operations.

Chinniah was most recently the vice president of administration and finance and chief financial officer at Northern Illinois University (NIU) an institution with an annual budget of over $400M, over 16,500 students, 1,200 faculty, 2,000 staff, seven colleges, 40 academic divisions, and Division I Athletics. Chinniah was the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees and the university liaison to the Board of Trustees’ Finance, Audit, Compliance, Facilities and Operations Committee (FACFO). She had responsibility for the Finance and Administration Division of the University, which comprised more than 400 staff in several departments, including Facilities Services, Budget and Financial Planning, Information Technology, Parking and Transportation, Enterprise Risk Management, Financial Services, and Business Diversity.

Prior to her role at NIU, she held positions at Northwestern University, including serving as Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, reporting directly to President Schapiro, and Senior Associate Dean in The Graduate School. She joined Northwestern after holding key administrative leadership roles at the University of Chicago.

Chinniah earned a master’s in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a bachelor’s of science in speech pathology and audiology from Marquette University. She has served on various community boards throughout her career, including Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Ill. Currently, Chinniah serves as an ex-officio member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI).

Sarah and her husband, Nim Chinniah, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and interim Chief Executive Officer for MU Health Care, moved to Columbia in 2022.