Skip to main content

Lisa Rismiller

Lisa Rismiller

Written by Katie Gross '21

Lisa Rismiller has accomplished much in her time here at UD, but never originally planned on any of it. As an undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati, she studied marketing and real estate and then decided she wanted to become a city manager. She moved back to Dayton with her family and became a graduate student at UD…and never left. Comparing her journey in life thus far to “the orange Hot Wheels racetrack of my childhood,” Lisa emphasized the importance of maintaining flexibility and having the courage to follow any opportunities that arise, or to “reconfigure your track”.

Lisa is smart, tactful, funny and affable, and a great storyteller with advice that everyone can benefit from. One of Lisa’s parting statements was to “make sure that you put yourself back on your own priority list.” As a working mother, Lisa fell into the habit of putting the needs of others, especially work, home and family, before her own needs. She has since changed her mindset to make herself a priority in her life and maintains that it has improved her overall health and well-being.

Lisa began her UD career as the Executive Director in the Office of the President, working under Brother Raymond Fitz during his tenure as President. Brother Fitz acted as both her boss and mentor, and together with a working group of UD colleagues, they crafted the vision for the first Women’s Center here at UD. Upon Brother Fitz’s retirement, she was faced with the choice of staying on as the Executive Director in the Office of the President or becoming the inaugural director of the Women’s Center. Unsure of which path to take, she called her mentor, and he asked her “What’s your passion?” That made the right decision impossibly clear.

Lisa became the first director of the UD Women’s Center in 2003. Over the next 13 years, she formed it into a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their background or role at the university. One of Lisa’s proudest accomplishments is her advocacy for the professional development of women in higher education, which started with her instrumental role as the first director. Lisa’s legacy of advancement for women in higher education and the establishment of a Women’s Center that remains inclusive, accepting and supportive of all women lives on to this day. Even in her current role as the Associate Secretary of the Board of Trustees, Lisa still carries with her the hope and advocacy lens she discovered at the Women’s Center. “I’m a better human being for my Women’s Center experience, and I will always seek ways to keep that fire burning and advocate for justice whenever and wherever I can”.