Former ND VP dies at age 89
Observer Staff Report | Sunday, April 13, 2014
James W. Frick, former University vice president for public relations, alumni affairs and development, died Wednesday at the age of 89 at his home in Naples, Fla., according to a University press release.
Frick enrolled at Notre Dame as a 23-year-old freshman after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He worked part time for the University development office, then called the Notre Dame Foundation, before graduating and entering full-time into the foundation, the press release stated.
Frick became the first Notre Dame administrator to focus exclusively on development work, and he later became the University’s director of development in 1961. In 1965 he was elected vice president for public relations and development as the first lay officer in University history, according to the press release.
“Jim Frick took over a fledgling development organization and turned it into one of the most successful fundraising operations in the nation,” University president emeritus Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh said, according to the press release. “Few individuals have left the University more in their debt than he, and few have had a more decisive and widespread effect on the history and development of Notre Dame.”
Frick served for 18 years as vice president, during which time Notre Dame initiated four major fundraising campaigns that generated more than $300 million, according to the press release.
“Frick’s twin enthusiasms — for his job and for his alma mater — could be costly,” the press release stated. “A nearly compulsive record keeper, he once noticed and remarked that in 1976, a particularly eventful year of his tenure, he spent 36 weeks traveling 70,000 miles and ate 263 dinners away from home.
“Such exertions contributed to several heart attacks, two of them nearly fatal, and were noted officially in 1983 when the University conferred on Frick an honorary degree citing ‘a man who has literally worked his heart out for Notre Dame.’”
Frick earned a doctoral degree in educational administration from the University in 1972 and, upon retirement as vice president, served on the board of trustees from 1983 to 1985, the press release stated.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Visitation will be held Tuesday from 2-4:30 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Notre Dame Magazine, the Notre Dame Annual Fund or the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County.