History was made at Friday’s meeting of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Chairman Tim Clare placed the President’s medallion around the neck of Dr. Susan Fritz, making her the school’s Interim President.  Fritz is the seventh President of the N-U System, and the first woman to hold the position.

Fritz called it a great honor, and a great responsibility.

“It is a great honor, and an even greater responsibility to serve the University of Nebraska, my Alma Mater” she said.  “I pledge to you that I will do everything I can to help our University be as great as it can possibly be.”

Offering greetings during today’s program were:

  • Aya Yousuf, student regent at the University of Nebraska at Omaha: “In the time that I’ve known Dr. Fritz, she always comes back to the same question: What’s best for the students of the University of Nebraska? I know I speak for my fellow student regents, and the 52,000 students we represent, when I say we have total confidence that Dr. Fritz makes every decision with the best interests of students at heart.”
  • Lyle Middendorf, senior vice president and chief technology officer at LI-COR Biosciences: “We in industry are eager for, and in need of, more breakthroughs, more talent and more partnerships, as these are critical to the future of our workforce. We are so excited to have Susan Fritz leading the University of Nebraska forward.”
  • Gina Matkin, Ph.D., associate professor of agricultural leadership, education and communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a former student of Fritz’s: “Not only has Dr. Fritz served in roles supervising and supporting faculty, but perhaps most important, she has been a faculty member here. She understands what we do, because she’s done it. Dr. Fritz has been my teacher, my coach, my trusted mentor and friend.”
  • Doug Kristensen, chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney: “The University requires people who will take a risk and manage such a multi-faceted institution. Someone who understands the risks and the great potential of the University. Someone who isn’t afraid of the challenge. This is Susan Fritz… Susan, your strongest assets include understanding and promoting the individual missions and strengths of each campus. You appreciate that Nebraska is too small to compete against itself internally, and we are so successful when we work together.”
  • Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, who said the University has an “immense influence” and is a “force for good” for the State and the City of Lincoln.

Fritz has been with the University since 1989, beginning on East Campus, holding various teaching and administrative positions.  Most recently, she’s been Provost, a Senior Vice Chancellor, and Head of the Graduate College.

She was raised on her family’s farm outside Lincoln, where the family raised beef and cattle and grew row crops. With her husband, Russell, she currently co-owns and co-operates Fritz Family Farms in Crete, where the couple grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa and run a cow/calf operation. The Fritzes have three children and seven grandchildren.

Fritz will remain in the interim president role until the Board completes its national search for the next president and her successor is in place.  Regent Jim Pillen of Columbus, a member of the search committee, told Regents that the search firm began taking applications August 1st for a permanent president.  The position became vacant recently with the departure of Hank Bounds.