Susan Fritz, Ph.D., the University of Nebraska’s executive vice president and provost, has announced she will retire on June 30, 2021, capping a 32-year career at the university that included a historic appointment as the first woman to lead the NU system.
Fritz, the university system’s top academic officer, served as NU’s interim president in 2019 prior to the appointment of current President Ted Carter. In that role, Fritz championed university-wide priorities of student access and success, launching a statewide partnership focused on timely graduation, advocating to elected leaders for greater investment in scholarships, and presiding over gains in student diversity.
She joined NU’s Central Administration office in 2011 and has served as executive vice president and provost since 2012. Fritz began her university career in 1989 as an instructor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, and has held progressive leadership roles since then.
"It’s bittersweet to leave my alma mater, an institution that has changed my life personally and professionally," said Fritz, a Nebraska native and first-generation college student who holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from UNL. "But what a ride it’s been. To have served alongside the faculty, staff and students of this great university for so many years has been the privilege of a lifetime.
"I will always be an advocate of the University of Nebraska and its profound impact on students, communities and the people of our state."
Carter thanked Fritz for her service, noting that as interim president, Fritz ensured a seamless transition that kept the university moving forward.
"In the nine months we have worked together, Susan has been a friend and valuable advisor, teaching me as she has taught so many others throughout her career," Carter said. "We have benefited greatly from her institutional knowledge, her dedication to students, and her commitment to the values of public higher education.
"We’ll miss Susan very much – but she will leave the University of Nebraska stronger than when she arrived. Most importantly, we know seven grandchildren are eager to spend more time with Grandma soon. We’re happy that Susan and Russell get to plan for this next chapter in their lives."
As executive vice president and provost, Fritz leads the system’s teaching, research and service activities, working in collaboration with the chief academic officers on each of the four campuses. She oversees NU’s institutional research team, the University of Nebraska Online, and the Nebraska Student Information and Business Information Systems.
Fritz’s roles at UNL included associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, associate vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and interim dean and director of the Agricultural Research Division and the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station.
Raised on a farm, Fritz today co-owns and operates with her husband Fritz Family Farms near Crete, where the couple grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa and run a cow/calf operation.
Carter said he will announce plans for selecting a successor at a later date.