Veteran Administrator Named VP Finance and Operations

Sunny Donenfeld started at Punahou on Aug. 1, 2020.

Sunny Donenfeld, a veteran education, strategy and planning executive, recently began his role as the new vice president of finance and operations of Punahou School. He replaces John Field ’72, who retired this summer after more than 20 years in the role.

Most recently, Donenfeld served as the senior associate dean for finance and administration and chief financial officer of University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. As the top financial officer of one of the country’s top-20 business schools, he oversaw the business school’s financial operations, facilities, capital planning, human resources and information technology.

“We are so fortunate to have someone with Sunny’s vast experience lead Punahou’s financial operations, information technology, capital planning and other important areas for the School,” President Mike Latham ’86 said. “His past experience aligns perfectly with Punahou’s mission to remain a financially strategic institution and implement impactful innovations and to advance education for all students.”

Donenfeld said he’s excited to “be part of a community that is authentic about how it approaches its mission and vision and holds values that resonate deeply” with him. “I’ve worked in higher education for 25 years and, along with my own personal experience, understand how a wonderful education positively impact individuals, families, communities and the world,” he said.

While at USC, Donenfeld provided strategic direction and executive decision-making for the university. He also founded and directed the office for diversity and inclusion, helping Marshall become the first major business school to achieve gender parity in an MBA program.

Before joining USC in 2015, Donenfield served as associate dean for administration, chief financial officer and chief operating officer at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, his alma mater. While at Cornell, he oversaw the business school’s finances, facilities, capital planning, human resources, faculty support and information technology. He also developed governmental, corporate and international partnerships for the school.

Earlier in his career, he was a manager, technology strategy and support senior network specialist and computing information system analyst at Stanford University, starting in an entry-level role and advancing rapidly to become technology strategy and support manger.

Donenfeld earned a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Binghamton, then received an MBA and a Master’s of Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell.

“I look forward to partnering with the faculty and administration to build upon Punahou’s strong foundation to create a sustainable future for the School,” Donenfeld said. “The current crisis is unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes; my aim is not just to help the School get through it, but to help us emerge even stronger.”

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