Susan M. Fritz, Ph.D, has made Nebraska history. Or, herstory, rather.
The 30-year Nebraska University veteran has been named the interim NU president and is the first woman to be selected for this role in the university’s 51-year history. Fritz will assume her role as interim president, following the departure of current president Hank Bounds, on Aug. 15.
Until then, she will remain in her current position as executive vice president and provost; a post she has upheld since 2012.
In a news release from NU, Fritz said: “It is the privilege of a lifetime to be entrusted with this role by the Board of Regents. I know from personal experience that the University of Nebraska is a powerful force for change and growth for young people and communities alike. To have the opportunity to serve the university in this way, at a time of such great opportunity, is beyond what I would have thought possible.”
Fritz is a three-time NU graduate, having received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business administration, adult education and agricultural education, and community and human resources, respectively. All were completed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Fritz also found Husker pride in a variety of positions in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; from tenured instructor, to department head, associate dean and associate vice chancellor in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Her love for Nebraska runs soil-deep, as she continues to follow her agriculture passions on her farm today. With her husband, Russell, Fritz co-owns and co-operates Fritz Family Farms in Crete, where the couple grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa and run a cow/calf operation, according to the news release.
Whether Fritz is getting her hands dirty during harvest or fundraising seasons, many believe her lifetime of experience will serve her well in this new role.
“I have no doubt that she will continue leading the university to continued success and progress,” UNO student body president and student regent Aya Yousef said. “She started her career as a UNL first generation student and ever since has continued to devote her time and efforts to our university. I’m very excited and honored to witness her leadership. For me personally, She sets a great example of how far we can all go and how much we can achieve to better our communities.”
Her predecessor speaks highly of her, as well.
“Susan Fritz has been a trusted partner, advisor and friend over the past four years. The University of Nebraska could not be in better hands,” Bounds said. “I commend the Board of Regents on this historic appointment, and I congratulate Susan on this well-deserved new role. I look forward to seeing what the university will accomplish in the future.”
Most of all, Fritz is looking to the future, where she is eager to begin this new frontier in leadership.
She said: “I look forward to working closely with the Board, our chancellors, vice presidents, and incredible faculty, staff and 52,000 students – along with our elected leaders, philanthropic partners, farmers and ranchers, and business leaders – to move the University of Nebraska forward.”