Michael Cato


Michael Cato leads IT strategy and operations as CIO of Vassar College, a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Since joining Vassar in 2013, Michael has led the Computing and Information Services (CIS) division to adopt new approaches to better serve the college community. These efforts include developing Project Management methodologies, initiating IT Service Management principles, and implementing an intentional organizational culture program. Notably, in 2014 Michael led CIS to successfully receive two Campus Cyberinfrastructure: Infrastructure, Innovation Engineering (CC*IIE) grants from the National Science Foundation. Finding the right opportunities to integrate technologies into a highly successful curriculum remains one of the great challenges of leading IT at Vassar. Michael previously served as Interim Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and CIO at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He served in this role as the institution began its first institution-wide IT Strategic Plan and restructured the IT Governance process. Before becoming Interim CIO, Michael served as Director of Client Services and led efforts to reorganize and refocus the client facing aspects of ITS to better serve the campus community. Among other accomplishments in Client Services, Michael conceived and led the Future of Student Computing initiative resulting in a hardware support partnership for student-owned hardware, a new Service Desk presence in the Student Union, and a hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure pilot for students. Michael joined the UNC Charlotte community in 2006 as the Executive Director of Health Informatics in the College of Health and Human Services where he was responsible for expanding and refining IT services to address the unique needs of the College. He served as a Co-investigator on a NIH funded project to examine the feasibility of delivering HIV prevention education via text messages to African American adolescents in Charlotte. Successful and innovative endeavors there earned him the nomination for UNC Charlotte Employee of the Year in 2009. Prior to joining UNC Charlotte, Michael held several IT positions at UNC Chapel Hill where he was awarded UNC Chapel Hill's IT Award in 2003. Michael is an Educause Management Institute faculty member, a member of the Society for Information Management, a member of the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, an Educause Leading Change/Frye Fellow, an alum of Leadership North Carolina, and serves on the Board of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Degrees held include a BS in Zoology from Andrews University and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

EDUCAUSE Publications

  • Cloud on the Horizon
    • Briefs, Case Studies, Papers, Reports

    This paper is the seventh and final installment in a series on Preparing the IT Organization for the Cloud from the ECAR Cloud Working Group.

  • Operationalizing the Cloud
    • Briefs, Case Studies, Papers, Reports

    Operationalizing the Cloud, addresses cloud computing risks and how to operationalize the cloud. Most colleges and universities have moved at least some services to the cloud, while others have built out large-scale cloud environments. Ensuring that these services effectively align with an institution’s needs requires careful planning and ongoing management.

EDUCAUSE Presentations


EDUCAUSE Primary Representative

EDUCAUSE Involvement

  • EDUCAUSE/Jisc Working Group
    • Member: 2015 - 2016
  • ECAR Cloud Working Group
    • Member: 2014 - 2016
  • Institute Management Program Faculty
    • Member: 2013 - 2016