Trustees nominate Donna Souder Hodge as 12th president

May 1, 2024
Photo of Donna Souder Hodge

The Fitchburg State University Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to nominate Dr. Donna Souder Hodge as the university’s 12th president.

The nomination, which followed a national search that resulted in three finalists visiting campus for interviews with different campus populations, is contingent upon approval by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education as well as contractual negotiations.

Dr. Hodge is currently Vice President of Operations & Advancement at Colorado State University, Pueblo, where she has worked in a variety of roles since 2010, including chief strategy officer and tenured faculty member.

She will succeed President Richard S. Lapidus, who is retiring in June after nine years leading Fitchburg State. His tenure has included the growth of undergraduate and graduate academic programs, a renewed focus on student success and education justice, strengthening ties between the institution and its host community, and guiding the university through the pandemic.

“This was a difficult decision with a strong slate of finalists to lead Fitchburg State,” Board of Trustees Chairperson C. Deborah Phillips said. “We are confident Dr. Hodge has the leadership skills and experience to find consensus among campus constituencies as we confront the challenges facing all institutions of higher education. She is a strong communicator who is  mindful of the critical role that public higher education plays in the success of the city and region.”

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to join the Fitchburg State community,” Dr. Hodge said. “It was clear from my interactions with campus and community constituencies during the search process that Fitchburg State is a special place, and I look forward to being part of its continued progress and building upon its strong foundation.”

Fitchburg State trustees engaged Witt/Kieffer to guide its national presidential search, which was led by a 13-member search committee including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community representation. Three finalists visited campus for two days of interviews with campus constituencies as well as open public forums. Feedback from the campus was collected and shared with the trustees in advance of their deliberations.

Fitchburg State University, established in 1894, enrolls day and evening students in more than 50 programs of undergraduate and graduate study. The university was established in 1894. Learn more at