Farewell reception Oct. 5 for Lise Fitzpatrick

Alyssa Evans

Lise Fitzpatrick, Western Washington University’s Director of Administrative Services and Financial Management for Extended Education, will be leaving the university after more than 15 years of service.

“I think I’ve always known that education is best a lifelong endeavor, but Western – and Extended Ed in particular – have really driven that home for me in many tangible ways,” Fitzpatrick said. “From giving me the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree to providing my kids with quality enrichment programs to letting me play a small part in students’ attainment of their academic goals, I am surrounded by examples of how education has an incredibly positive impact on people no matter what stage in life they happen to be at.”

A farewell reception will be held for Fitzpatrick Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Old Main Solarium.

Fitzpatrick got her start at Western in 2001 as a program coordinator for Woodring College of Education’s Urban Teachers Education Program in Seattle.

“There I was able to work with para-educators and those wishing to switch career paths gain their teaching certification. I applied for the job because I was looking for a rewarding part-time job… and gosh this delivered on that and then some,” she said. “I had no idea then that this job was just the beginning of a long career at Western.”

Maggie Barklind, Western’s Director of Student and Course Services, has worked with Fitzpatrick throughout her time at Western.

“She’s been a tremendous force to the organization,” Barklind said. “Everything she has done has been for the university.”

Fitzpatrick would go on to work as a program manager for Woodring College of Education’s Teacher Education Outreach, managing the operations for Woodring’s off-campus sites around the Puget Sound region from 2002 to 2005. From there she went on to the University Planning & Budgeting Office, where she was a budget analyst and budget analyst supervisor and where she got her first campus-wide look at the business side of a university, Fitzpatrick said.

Since 2006, Fitzpatrick has worked at Extended Education, where she held the role of Associate Director to Financial Management & Information Systems until being promoted to Director of Administrative Services & Financial Management in 2010.

In addition to her job responsibilities at Western, Fitzpatrick has been involved in a multitude of projects while working at the university. Fitzpatrick is currently the president of WWU Minority Employee Council, a member of the Equity Alliance and has participated in numerous campus committees and groups, she said.

According to Fitzpatrick, she’s also been involved through the university by being an alumnus of Western’s MBA program, a member of the President’s Society,  a parent of two daughters who grew up through Western’s youth programs (one of whom recently started this term as a freshman) and a booster for Western Athletics.

“One of the things you notice with Lise is whenever she is on campus, someone always stops her to talk,” Barklind said. “She’s a very valuable part of this university.”

Through her many commitments to the university, Fitzpatrick says she has found her work with the MEC to have the greatest impact on her.

“The camaraderie and community that I find with the MEC membership brings only energy and a sense of purpose to me,” she said. “Getting to know the creative, innovative and committed efforts – both the individual and the collective – of faculty and staff of color on this campus makes me feel like we will not only be able to continue the hard work on the hard issues surrounding diversity, but that we’ll also be able to inspire and prepare succeeding generations to engage in this ongoing work.”

Fitzpatrick will start a new job position as a higher education consultant for Kaufman Hall after her last day at Western. Through her new position, Fitzpatrick will be working with colleges and universities around the country as they integrate the company’s software solutions into their long-term planning and budgeting processes, she said.

“I’ve always been keenly interested in the business of higher education. This new job provides an opportunity for me to see how other institutions approach strategic and resource planning as I assist in their efforts to increase efficiencies and enhance capacity in those areas,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick’s mother and father were long-time teachers in California inner city schools, and instilled in her a deep sense of the transformative nature of education and the need for open access to education. After losing her parents in 2011 to two separate accidents, a friend invited her to the Women of Color Empowerment Dinner. At the dinner, scholarships are presented to young women who demonstrate support for the shared experience, issues and concerns of our communities, said Fitzpatrick.

“I walked into a room of 250 women of color coming together to recognize and celebrate the achievement of others and I felt as if my folks were standing beside me that whole night, whispering to me, ‘this is what we’ve meant all along’ and for the first time since losing them I felt serenity and joy,” she said. “I feel that same way at every WOCE dinner I’ve attended since then.” 

In honor of her parents, Fitzpatrick worked with the Foundation to launch an effort in 2013 to raise the $20,000 it takes to endow a Western scholarship by pledging to match every dollar that is donated through the WOCE effort. She said she expects that they will reach that goal this year.

“Most people who know me on campus know how important the concepts of philanthropy and service to others are to me,” Fitzpatrick said. “The WOCE scholarship embodies these twin pillars, and I can think of no better way to have my work at Western celebrated than to help perpetuate the success of future students.”

In lieu of any gifts, Fitzpatrick would like donations to be made for the Women of Color Empowerment Scholarship.

Donations for the fund can be made at alumni.wwu.edu/woce.

On Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Old Main Solarium, a farewell reception will be held for Fitzpatrick.

“She will be greatly missed,” Barklind said.

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 11:43am