The Board of Trustees unanimously approved contract negotiations for Lisa Freeman to become the next permanent President of Northern Illinois University. She will become the 13th President of the university since it opened in 1899 and the first woman to ever hold that title at NIU.
Freeman has been serving as the Acting President since Doug Baker’s resignation on June 30, 2017. She initially said that she was not interested in being a candidate for the position permanently when they began a nationwide search for Baker’s replacement, but later changed her mind.
Dr. Freeman was hired by NIU in 2010 as Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. From 2013-2017, she served as Executive Vice President and Provost. Before coming to DeKalb, she worked at Kansas State University in various positions, including Associate Vice President for Innovation, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, and Professor of Pharmacology.
Freeman began her collegiate career at Cornell University, where she earned a B.S. in Biology in 1981. In 1986, she completed graduate studies at Cornell with an M.S. in Reproductive Physiology and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M) Degree. In 1989, she earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Ohio State University.
During the last few years, Freeman has done a lot to leave her mark on NIU. She helped guide the Program Prioritization process, which led to widespread university restructuring, curriculum changes and staffing alterations. She has also overseen the hiring of the Chief Financial Officer, the Human Resources director, and the Deans of the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering, Law, Visual and Performing Arts, and the Dean of Libraries.
The new President’s most pressing concerns as leader of the university are reversing NIU’s decade-long declining enrollment trend and improving student safety.