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Tovar to lead student-athlete academic support

May 6, 2011
Liz Tovar

Liz Tovar

Elizabeth “Liz” Tovar, who has spent her entire professional career helping student-athletes reach their academic goals, has been named assistant athletics director for Student-Athlete Academic Support Services at Northern Illinois University.

Jeff Compher, NIU associate vice president and director of Athletics, and Vice Provost Earl “Gip” Seaver announced the hiring Friday, May 6.

Tovar, who began her NIU duties Monday, April 25, will direct the staff responsible for guiding Northern Illinois student-athletes’ academic progress through a cooperative effort with the academic counselors throughout campus.

She and her staff work with the Huskie student-athletes in all 17 NIU sports programs and their duties include arranging for tutors, managing the study hall and academic areas, including the computer labs, in the Yordon Center and Convocation Center, and collaborating with the different academic resources available on campus.

“We are very pleased to bring a professional with Liz’s qualifications and experience to Northern Illinois,” Compher said. “I know she will do a great job leading our SAASS team as they guide our student-athletes to continued academic success. We have established a history of success at NIU in terms of grade point average, academic progress rate and graduation success rate, and we look forward to continuing that tradition under Liz’s leadership.”

“Liz brings a wealth of experience from other institutions which will benefit NIU student-athletes,” said Seaver, whose office oversees SAASS. “She has a demonstrated commitment to the academic success of students and will be an excellent member of our university-wide team which is focused on the success of all NIU students.”

Tovar has spent the past two years at Ohio State University, where she worked with the Buckeyes football, men’s and women’s track and field, women’s swimming and men’s soccer student-athletes as an athletic academic counselor.

Prior to her time at OSU, she spent four years at the University of Kansas where she served as associate director of Academic and Career Counseling in the Student-Athlete Support Services unit. While there, she worked directly with the Jayhawks’ football program.

She has earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Kansas and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from KU. 

“It’s a pleasure to join the Huskie family, and I am thrilled to have been offered this opportunity,” Tovar said. “I look forward to working with the very bright and talented student-athletes that are here at NIU. I look forward to fostering relationships with the NIU faculty and staff members, who help make this a great institution, and in the community at large.

“It is my goal to reach every student-athlete who comes to NIU, make every effort that their educational experience is a positive one, and most importantly that they leave with a degree in hand. We will continue to set high standards for our students in the classroom and I’m excited for the chance to see them succeed both academically and in life.”

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