President Emerita Sister Elise Kriss returns as Director of Community Relations

October 4, 2021

Shortly after Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF retired on June 30, 2020, following her 27th year as University of Saint Francis President, she embarked on a well-deserved sabbatical.

Upon the end of her year-long leave, which included participating in the Ministry to Ministers sabbatical program at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas, she returned to the USF campus for the 2021-22 academic year. Students, faculty and staff now regularly see her familiar face as she serves as Director of Community Relations from her new office in Trinity Hall.

“I’m happy to be back on campus, and to help connect our students, faculty and staff with opportunities for continued University of Saint Francis engagement in the community,” Sister Elise said.

In her new role, Sister Elise will seek to cultivate long-standing relationships with local government leaders, business leaders and USF supporters, which she helped build over the years. She will also work to establish new relationships to strengthen USF’s presence in the Fort Wayne community.

“Faculty, staff and students enthusiastically welcomed Sister Elise’s return to campus, and we are all glad to have her serving in an important role,” said USF President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer. “Sister Elise’s work as Director of Community Relations will be an integral part of our collaborations and partnerships in Fort Wayne and the surrounding region.”

While serving as President for 27 years—starting in 1993 after working at USF as an administrator for the previous 10 years—Sister Elise led the University through a period of tremendous growth. Enrollment more than doubled and USF added new academic and athletic programs, renovated and expanded facilities, and established sites in Crown Point and downtown Fort Wayne. She also led during the transition from Saint Francis College to the University of Saint Francis and the expansion of health sciences with the acquisition of Lutheran College of Health Professions.