July Employee of the Month: Tim Fitzgerald
photo by Beverly Newsam
For the past decade, Tim Fitzgerald, manager of photography, has captured the essence of UNO in photographs. Be it an awards luncheon, athletic event or groundbreaking ceremony, he has been there for it all.
"Tim's expertise in photography is evident with each picture he takes," a co-worker wrote. "I don't know of a more adaptable person on campus. He will go anywhere and at anytime to accommodate a request. Tim is personable, pleasant and efficient."
A product of the University of Nebraska system, Fitzgerald earned a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 1970, he began his service to UNO as a writer and producer of the TV program "From the President's Office."
Fitzgerald went on to serve UNO in other capacities by writing news releases, working with the news media and producing the former print faculty/staff newsletter, The Weekly Communicator.
He currently is responsible for photographing people, places and events across campus for a variety of uses. Meeting many different people and having an opportunity to work with students is what brings variety and enjoyment to his job.
"It is neat to watch students come in as freshmen, graduate and be successful in the community," he said. "I enjoy speaking with them when they return to visit."
Seeing the student population evolve is not the only change Fitzgerald has witnessed in his many years on the job. Switching from film-based to digital cameras has greatly impacted the way he operates, and for the better. "
An event used to take five or six rolls of film," he said. "Now, with digital, you don't have to worry about the number of photos taken or the cost."
Of Fitzgerald's many photo requests, his biggest customers are the Athletic Department and the Chancellor's Office, including work for the university Web site and publications. In addition to his daytime appointments, he regularly has many weeknight and weekend photo assignments for athletic events, dinners and receptions. Colleagues say he is such a staple at UNO that it would be difficult to function without him.
"He is so reliable," one individual said. "We never worry about him showing up, and it is incredible how he keeps up with so many things going on at one time. He will not be able to retire, as I think the university would close if he were to leave."
Several photography projects have been especially memorable for Fitzgerald, including capturing images of the Henningson Memorial Campanile construction and for the Alumni Association calendar. Another top event was the 1997 opening night of Maverick hockey and pre-game open house at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
Fitzgerald also fondly recalls watching the Maverick wrestling and women's soccer teams win national titles. The 2005 soccer sudden-death overtime win was especially momentous for him, as UNO was the first NCAA team from Nebraska and the North Central Collegiate Conference to win a men's or women's national soccer title.
"It was also my first time on the road for a title win," he said. "There was definitely a lot of drama."
Work has also turned into a hobby for Fitzgerald. An avid traveler, he often takes a vacation each summer that provides an opportunity to use his photographic talents in a different venue. Among his favorite locations are the mountainous regions of the western United States.
Humbled by the Employee of the Month honor, Fitzgerald said it is very rewarding to be recognized for what he does.
(Pictured above: Fitzgerald and UNO Chancellor John Christensen.)