La Salle University honored Franz Fruehwald, Chief Information Officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and a La Salle alumnus, with its 10th annual IT Leadership Award.
“Franz Fruehwald is an excellent model of Lasallian values in action,” said Margaret McCoey, Director of the M.S. in Computer Information Science and the M.S. in Information Technology Leadership programs at La Salle. “He has used his technical expertise to provide community service to many groups and organizations, and he continues to develop opportunities to provide service. Franz is a very humble person, and we are proud to present him with this award.”
Award recipients are selected for having a positive impact on business, government, education, and/or society through the advancement of information technology; making a significant contribution to the community through proven information technology leadership in business, education, government, or civic affairs; and serving as an outstanding example to all students pursuing their goals in the field of information technology
Fruehwald did not plan on a career in computing. He graduated from La Salle in 1980 with a B.S. in accounting and earned an MBA with a concentration in finance from La Salle in 1994.
While a student, he said two La Salle professors influenced him greatly.
“In my undergraduate studies, I was very impressed by Joseph Flubacher, whom I had for two economics classes. He presented and tied in for me how deeply the socio-economic and geo-political worlds are connected and how important past experiences impact current actions,” Fruehwald said.
“In the MBA program, (Professor of Management) Charles Halpin’s negotiations course was hands-down one of the most meaningful classes I have ever had. Halpin brought real-world experience and sensibility to his subject matter. He also taught me that you can humanize a situation, be sensitive, compassionate, and do the right thing while still being firm in your beliefs and ideology,” he said.
Fruehwald joined the Archdiocese 25 years ago, starting in the finance office of Catholic Social Services (CSS). Later, he became the assistant executive director for the development programs division of CSS, where he oversaw a department of 500 employees and managed a $45 million budget.
“During this time, I also took on an active role in the deployment of information technology systems,” Fruehwald said. “I was a member of several executive steering committees reviewing, selecting, and implementing two large technology-planning systems. After my experience and leadership within those committees, I then became the first full-time CIO for Catholic Human Services. Eighteen months ago, organizational changes were made, and I assumed responsibility for IT services for the central administration of the Archdiocese and St. Charles Seminary.”
About his current position, Fruehwald said, “I believe our mission statement describes my role: ‘To plan, implement and maintain the technology-based infrastructure that supports the mission of the Archdiocese. The Office of Information Technology facilitates innovation, enhances efficiency and provides educational direction. We humanize technology by delivering solutions to the Archdiocese, responding to needs with respect and integrity.’”
He added, “Technology is an industry of change. What was new six months ago is outdated today. What didn’t exist a year ago is now a standard business requirement. If you are not flexible, adaptable, and open to change, don’t get into the IT field.”
Fruehwald serves as a volunteer in local civic and religious organizations, including the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also recognized as a Computerworld Premier 100 Leader in 2008.
Fruehwald met his wife, Marian, a 1981 La Salle graduate, in the University’s Food Court in 1978. They have four children.
La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.