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Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professorship

The Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professorships have been made possible through a gift from George M. C. and Patricia Ann Fisher, in honor of the late Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher, George’s parents. The Fisher Professorships are awarded to outstanding faculty in the College of Engineering, supporting their research laboratories.

In 1934, Mr. Ralph M. Fisher graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture. Soon after, he began working for the Illinois Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry, where he developed and managed the Union County State Tree Nursery in Jonesboro and the Mason State Tree Nursery in Topeka. After moving to Connecticut in 1946, the family returned to Illinois in 1967, when Mr. Fisher accepted a position as horticulturist and landscape architect for the state’s department of transportation in District 3, located in Ottawa. During his career, Mr. Fisher operated and managed some of the largest and most progressive commercial nurseries throughout the United States.

Mrs. Catherine V. Fischer graduated from the University of Illinois in 1934 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences, with a focus on sociology. After raising nine children, including four University of Illinois graduates, she completed postgraduate work through University of Illinois extension courses and Trenton State Teachers College and starting teaching in 1965. Before she retired in 1977, Mrs. Fisher developed a special education program in the Ottawa, Illinois schools.

Dr. George M. C. Fisher is a Senior Advisor at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company. He served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Eastman Kodak Company from

George M. C. Fisher
George M. C. Fisher

1993 to 1999. Prior to joining Kodak, Dr. Fisher worked at Motorola, Inc. from 1976-1993, becoming President and Chief Executive Officer in 1988. Before starting his career and spending ten years at Bell Laboratories, Dr. Fisher graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1962, and he completed master’s and doctoral degrees at Brown University in 1964 and 1966.

Dr. Fisher is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, recognized for “leadership in electronic communications and for guiding a company to a preeminent position in wireless communications worldwide,” and he is Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Fisher was inducted into the College of Engineering’s Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois in 2010. In 1996, he was recognized by the University with an honorary degree. Dr. Fisher has also generously established the George and Ann Fisher Endowed Professorships Fund in Engineering.

Recipients