Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., became Shenandoah University’s 16th president on July 1, 2008. She is the institution’s first female president since its founding in 1875 and one of the youngest university presidents in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She came to Shenandoah in 2001, as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, 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, Dr. 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 3,700 students, 250 full-time faculty and 475 staff at its 129-acre site in Winchester, Va., and a satellite campus in Leesburg and Ashburn, Va. In September 2010, Shenandoah was accepted as the 14th full member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, the first addition to the conference since 1999. Following the January 2010, Haiti earthquake, Dr. Fitzsimmons led several trips to Haiti in support of the College Catherine Flon, a K-12 school of 4,500 students in Carrefour, Haiti, a suburb of Port-au-Prince and home, at that time, to three Shenandoah students. Working with numerous organizations, including Rotary International, Shenandoah University has pledged to rebuild the school.
With regional expertise in Latin America, Tracy Fitzsimmons has taught courses on development and disaster relief, world politics, Latin American politics, global democratization, women, and politics in Latin America. Her published research on democratization, civil society, and gender in new civilian police forces has taken her across the world.
Her undergraduate degree in politics is from Princeton University, magna cum laude, and her master’s and doctoral degrees are from Stanford University in, respectively, Latin American studies and political science.
Fitzsimmons serves on the boards of Shentel (Shenandoah Telecommunications, Inc.), NAICU, Blue Ridge District BB&T Bank, and Powhatan School.
She lives in Reliance, Va. with her eleven year-old daughter, Shayla, and nine year-old twin sons, Dash and Jag. The Fitzsimmons home is a converted schoolhouse, and her family frequently hosts theatrical productions, concerts and poetry readings.