President’s Biography

Dr. Fred Ohles was named as the sixteenth president of Nebraska Wesleyan University on February 8, 2007.

Formative Years

Born in 1953 in Minneapolis, Minn.; raised in Minnesota, Iowa, upstate New York, and Ohio.


Theodore Roosevelt High School, Kent, Ohio, 1971; Bachelor of Arts (cum laude), Carleton College, 1975; German Academic Exchange Service Fellowship, Gießen and Marburg, 1977-1979; Doctor of Philosophy in comparative history, Brandeis University, 1981.


Married to Rosemary Rozario Ohles; two children.


Lecturer and Assistant Professor of European History, University of Melbourne (Australia); Upsala College; and Harvard University Summer School, 1981-1985; Program Officer, Western Europe Unit, Fulbright Professor Exchanges, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 1986-1990; Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Development, with additional responsibility for international programs, and Associate Professor of History, St. Olaf College, 1990-1996; Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean, Professor of History, Illinois College, 1996-2002; Senior Research Fellow, Center for Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Wabash College, 2002-2004; Vice President for Advancement, 2004-2006, and Senior Vice President, Council of Independent Colleges, 2006-2007; President, Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2007-present.

Professional Activities

Selection committee member for the National Venture Fund of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, Washington, DC, 2004-2007; Chair of the peer review committee for Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence grants at the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, Washington, DC, 2002-2003; Participant in the “Mission Project Focus Group” of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, 2000; Steering committee for the “Preparing Future Faculty” project at the University of Minnesota, 1994-96; Consultant and evaluator of international studies programs and internationalization initiatives at Kalamazoo College (1993), Knox College (1995, 2003), and Brethren Colleges Abroad (2000).

Community Activities

Co-chair of a fundraising campaign for Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, 2006; Treasurer of homeowners association, Silver Spring, Maryland, 2006-2007; Board of Directors, The Knowledge Network (WSEC, WQEC, WMEC public television stations in central Illinois), 2000-2003; Steering committee of the Jacksonville (Illinois) Partnership for Minority Achievement, 1996-2002; Rotary Club, Jacksonville, Illinois, 1996-2002; Ferris wheel ride coordinator in a community park for three years as a fundraising and benefit activity of the Rotary Club; Carleton College Alumni Council, 1991-94; Frequent speaker to community groups, service clubs, and high school and university audiences; Topics range from the serious to the very light and have included “The Hardest Job I Ever Had”; “How the World Changed My Life”; “Getting Right With Life”; “Terrors of Camping”; “Reading in the Shower”; “The Evolution of Words”; “Willa Cather: Novelist and Landscape Artist”; “From Honor to Anarchy—The Nineteenth Century”; and “Making the Most of Living in Germany”; Has led adult Sunday school classes on a variety of topics including “Christians & Jews”; “Types of Psalms”; and “What to Say to An Angel?”


Author, co-author, and translator of three books on topics in European history, Australian history, and the history of American education. Speaks German with near-native fluency; reads French. Enjoys reading, writing, chess, and racket sports.

Just for Fun

Worked summers in college and graduate school as a fast-food cook; former Ferris wheel operator and boat driver at an amusement park, and secretary.

Contact or visit us

Nebraska Wesleyan University
President’s Office, Smith-Curtis 305
5000 Saint Paul Avenue
Lincoln NE 68504
(402) 465-2217 Fax (402) 465-2537
president [at]