Fitzgerald Leads Effort to Improve ‘Town-Gown’ Relations

September 13, 2012

Jim Fitzgerald of the University of Virginia has been tapped to help lead a national organization devoted to enhancing relations between universities and their surrounding communities.

Fitzgerald, associate director of community relations, recently was named president-elect of the board of the International Town Gown Association, an organization of approximately 200 colleges, university and government offices. He will begin his term as president in 2013, leading a board comprising about a dozen university and city administrative professionals from around the nation and world. U.Va. is a charter member of the organization, founded in 2009. 

“Through U.Va.’s Community Relations Office, Jim has gained firsthand experience in addressing issues that frequently occur in cities where higher education institutions are located,” said Kim Griffo, the association’s executive director.

Fitzgerald was recognized for the leadership role after being among the first to complete the association’s Town-Gown Certificate Program. The six-week program, which ended in June, examined all aspects of town-gown relationships, from safety and security to student conduct.

“As president, Jim will help to define U.Va.’s role in ITGA as well as help the organization grow and mature in stature,” said Ida Lee Wootten, director of U.Va.’s Community Relations Office.

Fitzgerald and Vicki Hawes, assistant director of off-Grounds housing, worked with offices across U.Va.’s Grounds to launch an inaugural International Town Gown Association “Power Lunch Series” this summer. The series gave U.Va. experts in sustainability, community engagement, volunteer service and emergency management an opportunity to share their knowledge with colleagues nationwide and worldwide.

“My primary focus will be on harnessing the skills and experience of many seasoned professionals from across the University,” Fitzgerald said. “I look forward to offering what I’ve learned at U.Va. in support of an organization that focuses on community-university relations.”  

Fitzgerald joined U.Va.’s Community Relations Office in 2005 as assistant director.

For information on ITGA, click here.

Media Contact

Jim Fitzgerald

Associate Director of Community Relations Office