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Blake Fry leaves UWRF after 10 years of service

April 15, 2015

Blake Fry, UW-River Falls director of Communications and External Relations, has been named president of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau by the organization’s Board of Directors.

Fry will be leaving UWRF after 10 years of service in multiple positions over the course of his career here.

Fry moved from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to River Falls and took on his first role as dean for Student Development and Campus Diversity, and then he moved into the role of special assistant to the chancellor. With these titles, Fry said that he has done many different things here on campus.

“What I’ve done under those three titles has been more than three specific things,” Fry said. “Because each has changed dramatically over time.”

When Fry arrived here on campus he was very focused on emergency preparedness, because UWRF didn’t have much of a plan then, and Fry said he saw his fair share of disaster and wanted to incorporate that into the campus.

“I came from Oklahoma City that has its unfortunate share of disaster, and I knew that we needed to work on it,” Fry said.

This has lead to the construction of the tornado storm shelters located outside the lab farms. Fry is particularly proud of this accomplishment and is happy that it was able to happen. This happened when Fry was in the role of dean for Student Development and Campus Diversity.

When he took on the role of special assistant to the chancellor, he was focused on creating a comprehensive student affairs program. During this time he was focused on diversity and was senior student conduct officer and held all the hearings that went along with that.

Along with his current job, Fry also did various “special” jobs on the side, including starting up the Hudson Center and running that for it’s first year. Other projects include: starting the Center for Innovation and Business Development and getting grants for the tornado shelters.

“It’s just been a hodgepodge over the past 10 years,” Fry said.

His favorite memory at UWRF is the Chancellor’s Award for Student’s selection process, and seeing the pride that the students have accomplished has been an annual highlight for Fry as well as the day funding for the Falcon Center was approved.

“Blake has served in many capacities at UWRF and I wish him the best during his transition,” said Chancellor Dean Van Galen in an email. “I especially appreciate the role Blake played in the development of the UWRF Hudson Center, and believe that his new role at the Hudson Chamber of Commerce is a good fit for his talents.”

With the budget cuts coming, Fry said that his department has been affected. The position that he currently holds will no longer exist, and by doing this they were able to save some of the other positions in University Communications.

Beth Schommer, who is currently executive assistant to the chancellor, will oversee the operation of the Communications and External Relations office.

Fry’s new role as president of Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau will include networking with businesses and overseeing the staff in the office, as well as promoting this region and growing the economy. Fry is most excited to promote this area.

“I’ve lived here just shy of 10 years,” Fry said. “The longest I’ve lived anywhere and have no plans of going anywhere else. I love it here. Also, telling people about this region and having them start businesses in Hudson.”

Fry will miss working with the staff in University Communications and all of the relationships that he has built over the course 10 years. Fry will start his new position on April 23.