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Campus administrator has many responsibilities

April 7, 2011

Special Assistant to the Chancellor Blake Fry has had many responsibilites since he came to UW-River Falls in 2005.

When he joined the UWRF staff in 2005, he served as the dean for student development and campus diversity.

“As the dean of student development and campus diversity, I oversaw emergency preparedness, served as the chief diversity officer, and was the dean of students,” said Fry.

Fry also had several units reporting to him including the Academic Success Center, student counseling, Health and Career Services. 

In 2007, he applied and interviewed for the Special Assistant to the Chancellor position under Don Betz. When he took on the position, Fry was responsible for emergency preparedness, diversity and special projects for the chancellor. These special projects include writing speeches, creating presentations, conducting research and most recently the Hudson Center, Fry said.

“After some time, I felt I wasn’t able to devote the time for diversity that I needed to, so I advocated for the chief diversity officer position,” said Fry. “I oversee what doesn’t fit until an office is up and running to take over.”

Although currently Fry handles emergency preparedness, Risk Management and the University Police are preparing to take it over, Fry said.

Two years ago, Fry also began to oversee university communications.  He now works with marketing the UWRF brand, as well as governmental relations, emergency preparedness and special projects for the chancellor, Fry said.

“A lot of special projects deal with community outreach, such as with the recent town hall meetings,” said Fry.

Fry serves as a contact between campus and external groups.  He is a spokesperson for the university and influential in launching the Hudson Center, Chancellor Dean Van Galen said.

“He also serves as a bridge between the Chancellor’s Office and the external world,” said Van Galen. “He serves as an advocate for UWRF in Madison. I worked with him throughout the budget and the HHP building process.”

Fry oversaw the team that selected the site and the publicity of the latest addition to the UWRF campus, the Hudson Center. The chancellor announced in April 2010 that the university would open the Hudson Center, but there was no planned location, which made the opening in Fall 2010 to be a difficult task, Fry said.

“He worked with me on the selection of the site, submitted the required paperwork and coordinated the logistics to be ready to open in September,” said Van Galen.

Eventually, the Hudson Center and its day-to-day operations will be transferred to outreach and graduate studies, Fry said.

“For now, the Hudson Center is my third baby,” said Fry.

Kelsey Peterson, Hudson Center student building manager, works with Fry on a regular basis to ensure the success of the newest addition to the UWRF campus.

“He is really great to work for. He is also very understanding, accommodating and approachable. Blake is doing awesome things with the Hudson Center,” said Peterson.

Fry said that he currently does not have a typical day. One day, he is on campus all day to help redesign the website or create billboards, while other days he is in Madison talking to legislators with the Chancellor.  And still other days, he is running the Hudson Center.

“I live off the variety and change and keeping up with the latest trends in higher education,” said Fry.

According to the Falcon Daily, Fry was recently nominated to the position of chairman of the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education (NAPAHE).

The NAPAHE board nomination committee nominated him in March.

“It’s an exciting opportunity and a special association that has spent a lot of time bringing support to administration to take to the next level,” said Fry.

This national organization helps the university learn about the best practices in higher education, Van Galen said.

“It is good for the university to be able to look beyond itself and learn from others, which benefits the entire campus,” said Van Galen.

This position gives the university the opportunity to find the answers to the unanswerable questions, while also increasing the visibility of the university, Fry said.

“Blake carries out many tasks that are invisible to many people. His work plays an important role in moving the university forward,” said Van Galen.