office of the chancellor

Meet Interim Chancellor Donna Fry, PT, PhD

UM-Flint Interim Chancellor Donna Fry

Donna Fry began her tenure as interim chancellor of the University of Michigan-Flint, Aug. 18, 2023. Before her appointment, Fry served as dean of UM-Flint’s College of Health Sciences.

Fry has earned all her degrees from the University of Michigan, including a bachelor’s degree and certificate in physical therapy (1982), a master’s degree in kinesiology (1987) and a PhD in kinesiology (1998). 

Fry served in clinical and research roles early in her career before joining UM-Flint’s physical therapy faculty in 1987, where she continues today as a professor of physical therapy. Fry’s oft-cited research in physical therapy intervention for respiratory dysfunction in persons with multiple sclerosis has been used to modify current clinical guidelines in MS rehabilitation.

Fry began her academic administrative career in 2006 when appointed as director of the Physical Therapy Department, followed by appointment as associate dean in the School of Health Professions and Studies in 2010. She was later appointed dean in 2015. During her time as dean, Fry led the SHPS through significant transitions, including strategic planning to re-envision the future of the school, the evolution of the SHPS to the College of Health Sciences, the transition to holistic admissions collegewide, the development of numerous new programs, including physician assistant, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, and healthcare management among others; and increased focus on faculty scholarship.

“As a Michigander and a long-standing resident of Flint and Genesee County, I am committed to working with the UM-Flint community, U-M President Ono and the university’s Board of Regents – as well as our Flint-area and regional partners – to build a bright future for our campus and the local community.”

Fry also led efforts to promote the development of a curriculum that addresses the impact of societal inequities on health. She actively engages in community service as a member of the board for the Greater Flint Health Coalition Board, Genesee Health Plan, Ascension Genesys Foundation, and the McFarlan Charitable Corporation. Through her active engagement in the community, Fry has been able to connect faculty and students with additional opportunities for community-engaged service and research to positively impact the health of the Flint community.

Fry is a recognized scholar and leader. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards ranging from state, national and international awards for her research presentations and publications to a Lifetime Achievement Award from the U-M School of Kinesiology and the Genesee Health Plan Visionary Leadership Award from Genesee Health Plan.

In her role as interim chancellor, Fry plans to continue UM-Flint’s Strategic Transformation through the expansion of existing programs and the development of new programs to meet critical workforce shortages.

“It is an honor and a privilege to step into this interim leadership role at such a critical junction in the life of UM-Flint,” said Fry. “I have committed my entire academic career to UM-Flint and serving our students.”