News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
February 28, 2023
NOTE: Scroll to end of press release to download photo.

Dr. Lisa Freeman, President of Northern Illinois University, Elected
to Chicago Zoological Society’s Board of Trustees

Brookfield, Ill. —  Dr. Lisa C. Freeman was recently elected to the Chicago Zoological Society Board of Trustees, which manages Brookfield Zoo.

Since 2018, Dr. Freeman has been the president at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb. She first joined the faculty in 2010 serving as vice president for research and graduate studies and a professor of biology. During her time at NIU, Dr. Freeman has been committed to making the campus an environment where students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds feel welcome and included. She has worked to support all aspects of the university’s mission, emphasizing NIU’s enduring commitment to promoting the social mobility of its students, producing high-impact scholarship opportunities, and engaging with the DeKalb region.

She has been widely recognized for her professional contributions and the impact on the communities she has lived and worked in. Her honors include being named Outstanding Veterinarian of the Year by the Association for Women Veterinarians, acknowledged by local businesses as a Castle Bank Community Leader, and invited to join the influential leaders of The Chicago Network.
Dr. Freeman previously spent time at Kansas State University serving in various leadership and faculty roles, including associate dean for research and graduate programs for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

During her academic career, Dr. Freeman has also published research focusing on the role of ion channels in the development of diseases such as gastrointestinal ulcers and ovarian cancer, as well as on strategies for encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration. Her research has been funded by agencies like the American Heart Association, the National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Freeman received her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate in veterinary medicine from Cornell University. She received a doctor of philosophy at The Ohio State University in 1989 and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

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Dr. Lisa Freeman

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people to wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The Zoo is also accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, and the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association. Brookfield Zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit



Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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