University of Saint Francis President Sister Elise Kriss has announced she’s retiring next year, completing 27 years in the position. Under her tenure, the school’s name was changed from Saint Francis College to the University of Saint Francis in 1998. She also oversaw growth in the school’s endowment, increasing from $2.2 million to $34 million in 2018.
“Since July 1993, I have been privileged to serve this wonderful university by working with the board, the campus community and the Fort Wayne community during an era of tremendous change and growth,” Kriss said.
Enrollment during Kriss’ tenure more than doubled from 961 in 1993 to 2,199 in 2018.
Sister Angela Mellady, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, who sponsor the university, expressed her gratitude to Sister Elise for “her tireless efforts leading the university over these 27 years.”
President Kriss says her relationship with the campus community and the board of trustees made things possible for the university. “We have collaborated on projects both large and small. We’ve teamed to cultivate growth in our academic programs, in athletics and the arts, and in the addition of many new academic and related facilities that have strengthened the university, allowing it to meet the needs of today’s students.”
In her final year as president, Kriss says she wants to begin to implement a new strategic plan to set the “best possible groundwork” for the university and its future leadership.
Reflecting on her time at USF, President Kriss said students, faculty and staff “have not only remained faithful, but we have deepened the impact of our Catholic and Franciscan mission and values.”
Sister Kriss will conclude her presidency on June 30, 2020.