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. 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 4,100 students, and 900 faculty and staff at its 129-acre site in Winchester, Va., and sites in Loudoun, Fairfax, and Clarke counties, Va. In 2020, Virginia Business featured Dr. Fitzsimmons in its Virginia 500 Power List.
As a university president, Dr. Fitzsimmons still teaches a course each year. With regional expertise in Latin America, Dr. 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. She has been especially involved in the rebuilding of Haitian schools and communities following the 2010 earthquake.
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 board of directors of the publicly-traded company Shentel (Shenandoah Telecommunications, Inc.) where she is the Lead Independent Director and the Chair of the Nominating & Governance Committee. She is past-president of the ODAC Conference and past-chair of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia. As past president, she remains very involved at NAICU (the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities). She also serves on the board of Blue Ridge District BB&T Bank; she is a member of the International Women’s Forum of DC, Loudoun Education Foundation, and 100 Women Strong of Loudoun County. Currently, she is president of the ODAC Conference, chair of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia and is the Presidential Sponsor of the VA Network.
She lives in Winchester, Va., with her husband, Knox Singleton, and teenage daughter, Shayla, and teenage twin sons, Dash and Jag.