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Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. Appointed Chair of NAICU Board

News Release

February 6, 2014

Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA) President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., has been appointed chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).  Fitzsimmons leads a list of four new board officers and 15 new board directors who assumed their responsibilities on February 5, 2014 at the close of the NAICU 2014 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. 

Members of NAICU Board of Directors set the association agenda on federal higher education policy; actively encourage support of NAICU priorities and initiatives; and oversee the association's financial administration.  Members serve three-year terms.  Officers hold their positions for one year.

“NAICU's new board members and officers were elected by their peers because of their commitment to America's college students, leadership experience, and interest in advancing the cause of private, nonprofit colleges and universities,” said NAICU President David L. Warren. “They assume their responsibilities at a time of great challenge and transformation for American higher education.”

Board Chair

Fitzsimmons, who served as vice chair of the NAICU board in 2013-14, succeeds Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, Ph.D., president of Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Mich., who remains on the board as immediate past chair.

"Our nation benefits from the best higher education system in the world, including the vibrant and innovative group of private, nonprofit colleges and universities that are members of NAICU,” Fitzsimmons said.  “Our challenge is to clearly communicate to students, families and policymakers the commitment that private, nonprofit institutions have in providing affordable access to a college education. At the same time, we must convince the federal government that it is not the job nor is it in the best interest of students and families for the Department of Education to be in the business of rating colleges.”

Fitzsimmons became Shenandoah University’s 16th president on July 1, 2008 and is the institution’s first female president since its founding in 1875.  One of the youngest university presidents in the Commonwealth of Virginia, she joined the Shenandoah community in 2001, as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.  She became vice president for Academic Affairs in 2002 and was named senior vice president in 2006. She holds a faculty appointment as professor of Political Science. Previously, Fitzsimmons was a tenured faculty member and faculty leader at the University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif.

As president of Shenandoah University, she leads an institution of 4,000 students, 250 full-time faculty and 450 staff on a 129 acre site in Winchester, Va., and a satellite campus in Leesburg, Va.

Fitzsimmons earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University, magna cum laude, and a master’s degree and doctorate from Stanford University in Latin American studies and political science, respectively.

Other New NAICU Board Officers

  • John M. McCardell, Jr., Ph.D., vice chancellor and president, Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, TN, will serve as vice chair of the NAICU board of directors.  He will assume the position of chair next year. 
  • William W. Destler, Ph.D., president of Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, NY, has been named treasurer. 
  • Marvin Krislow, J.D., president of Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH, has been named secretary.

 New NAICU Board Members    

Eight new members were elected to three-year terms on the NAICU board, representing the association's national regions: 

  • Mim L. Runey, LDP, president of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, will represent Region I (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT). 
  • Christopher B. Nelson, J.D., president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, will represent Region II (DE, DC, MD, NJ, NY). 
  • Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D., president of Alvernia University in Reading, PA, will represent Region III (KY, OH, PA, WV). 
  • Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., president of Stetson University in Deland, FL, will represent Region IV (FL, GA, NC, SC, VA). 
  • Eileen Schwalbach, Ph.D., president of Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI, will represent Region V (IL, IN, MI, WI). 
  • B. David Rowe, Ph.D., president of Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, LA, will represent Region VI (AL, AR, LA, MS, OK, TN, TX). 
  • Paul C. Pribbenow, Ph.D., president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN, will represent Region VII (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD). 
  • Stephen Thorsett, Ph.D,  president of Willamette University in Salem, OR, will represent Region VIII (AK, AZ, CA, CO., HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY). 

Four presidents have been named to three-year terms as at-large members of the board: 

  • Bobby Fong, Ph.D., president of Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA. 
  • Philip A. Glotzbach, Ph.D., president of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.
  • Thayne M. McCulloh, D. Phil., president of Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.
  • Elizabeth Stroble, Ph.D., president of Webster University in St. Louis, MO. 

In addition, Lesa Smaligo, executive director of Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities in Owasso, OK, will serve a three year term on the Board representing the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives (NAICUSE). 

Robin Taffler, executive director, Work Colleges Consortium of Berea, KY, also will serve a three-year term representing the NAICU Secretariat. 

And finally, Deborah Altenburg, director of federal relations at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, will serve a three year term as an ad-hoc, non-voting government relations professional.



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