Tschetter manages more than budget

Emma Dejong

Emma Dejong

With a struggling economy forcing budget cuts and fee increases across campus, the Chief Financial Officer’s job is not easy. It takes a person who can make difficult decisions and handle stressful situations, all while maintaining a good spirit.At SDSU, Wes Tschetter fills this role.

Provost Laurie Nichols works with Tschetter directly almost every day, and she said he is the perfect man for the job.

“He really does have a wonderful personality for the position,” Nichols said. “As you can imagine, with the budget you can be in very tense situations. Wes will come out with a wisecrack, and immediately it cuts the tension.”

Tschetter’s history with SDSU is anything but short.

He graduated from SDSU with a degree in engineering. After receiving his MBA from USD, he worked in Pierre for 11 years, “one year for the state budget office and 10 years for the legislature,” he said. Tschetter was recruited in 1982 by Gary Thibodeau, a former Vice President of Administration, and has since worked at SDSU for 28 years.

“I think SDSU is the premiere state institution,” Tschetter said. “It’s a premiere finance job in the state.”

Nichols said the university owes a lot to Tschetter for how he manages the budgets.

“He’s kept us in the black and out of the red,” Nichols said. “He keeps us financially stable when it is becoming a much more challenging job today than it used to be.”

Tschetter said the work he does is a never-ending process.”You never leave your job,” he said. “You’re always thinking about things. You don’t walk away from things at 5 o’clock.”However, he does manage to fill his free time with his family and his hobbies.

Tschetter’s wife, Lois Tschetter, is a nursing professor at SDSU. They have three children: Paul, Jane and Emily. Emily is a senior biology major and was a member of the swim team.She said that having her dad on campus is “exciting and fun.”

“When I’m in The Union, he always buys me something in the bookstore or he eats with me,” she said. “I’m going to Nebraska for dentistry next year, so I’ll definitely miss him.”

Emily said he also devotes a great amount of time to learning about their family history.

“He’s a huge history buff, which a lot of people don’t know about him,” she said. “He’s published a couple books about family history. It’s always kind of amazing how much he knows.”

Like the passion he has for his family, Tschetter gives a great amount of time and care to what he does every day at SDSU, especially when working with people.

Nichols said Tschetter “is good at building a team,” and that he really takes the time to help people.

“Especially for me right now, he’s a real mentor,” she said. “He’s helping me understand the budget on a more detailed level.”

Tschetter said being the CFO “isn’t just a one-man show.” He said many people make up the finance team.

“As a student…I remember thinking, “I wonder what makes this place tick?’ I sure found out,” Tschetter said. “A place doesn’t tick by itself; I have worked with some of the most outstanding people.”

In the 28 years Tschetter has been here, he has seen many students and faculty come through the university.

“We really have had a lot of good people,” he said. “It’s probably the strength of SDSU’s existence.”

Tschetter said he has formed great relationships with other SDSU faculty and administration, and he jokingly added that he turns students away.

“The one regret I have is that I don’t meet many students,” he said. “The students I do meet, I tell them, “you’ve just met the man that takes your money.'”

Nichols said his personality is what so many people like about him.

“He’s such a comical guy,” she said. “He’s fun and he’s funny.”She said this sense of humor is what helps people make difficult decisions.

“He keeps people’s perspective,” Nichols said. “At the end of the day, it’s just money.”