Fitzgerald Named 2014 Distinguished Alumni

By Barb Lang

Chris Fitzgerald is second from leftBarron County Sheriff Christopher Fitzgerald was named as the recipient of the UW-Barron County Foundation’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.  This annual award recognizes outstanding UW-Barron County alumni who reflect the ideals of UW quality and have established an exceptional reputation in their careers and communities.

This award was presented to Fitzgerald by Barb Ritzinger, the new Executive Director of the UW-Barron County Foundation, at the UW-Barron County Commencement Ceremonies on May 21. 

Fitzgerald earned his UW-Barron County Associate Degree in 1993 then graduated from UW-Superior with a major in criminal justice. He is also a graduate of the FBI Academy and the National Sheriff’s Institute and is currently enrolled in Command College through UW-Madison.

In 2010 Fitzgerald was named “Outstanding Elected Official” in Wisconsin for Prevention and was also named “National Partner of the Year” for the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention.  He was named “National Partner of the Year” by the Underage Drinking Education Training Center through the Department of Justice and in 2013 received the “Rising Star Achievement Award” from the Rice Lake Chamber of Commerce. 

He has also given back to area communities through his extensive volunteer service by acting as president of the Boys & Girls Club of Barron County and vice-president of Benjamin House Board of Directors.  He is also actively involved with the UW-Barron County Foundation Board of Trustees, Restorative Justice Advisory Board, Leadership Barron County, Cumberland Good Ambitious People, the Barron County Domestic Abuse Coalition, and is a youth coach.

Many individuals recorded comments during the Distinguished Alumni nomination process about Fitzgerald including:

“Chris is a big supporter of UW-BC and education in general.  Through his academic experience, he has gained valuable skills that have allowed him to achieve success in his career. He strongly believes in giving back and supporting his community through volunteering. Chris has been recognized for the work he has done in underage drinking prevention and his partnership with Safe and Stable Families Coalition. Chris has been a dependable leader in our community through his expertise, education, support, service and action.”

Previous recipients of the UW-Barron County Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award are Louis E. Muench of Cumberland; Lance Allan Hajdasz, a native of Rice Lake; John Paul Gamoke, a native of Arcadia; Karyn Nelson Schauf of Barron; Eric Ness, a native of Cumberland; Mark Gilbertson, a native of Rice Lake; Jeff Hile of Cumberland; and Reverend Peter Muschinske, a native of Rice Lake.


UW-BC Barron Foundation president Mark Conrad, 2014 UW-BC Distinguished Alumni Christopher Fitzgerald, UW-BC Foundation Executive Director Barb Ritzinger, and UW-BC Campus Dean/CEO Dean Yohnk.


Barb Lang