Fisher Gift Honors Wife and Endows His Legacy

2/15/2017 1:53:03 PM Jeff Roley, UI Foundation

When Scott Fisher (BS Psychology ’72, MS CS ’76) received his second degree from Illinois, inflation was rampant and job prospects were dim. However, he and all of his fellow graduates had interviews with the major computer and electronics corporations. “I asked one recruiter why they came to the cornfields of Champaign,” Fisher recalls, “and she said, ‘Our relationship with Illinois is critical, and we get great employees from here’.”

Scott Fisher
Scott Fisher
To acknowledge the critical role Illinois has played in his life, a seven-figure estate gift will establish the Scott H. and Bonita J. Fisher Endowment, which also honors his late wife, Bonnie, who passed away in 2013. The Fisher Endowment will fund a professorship in both computer science and mathematics, as well as provide funding for the university’s main library and the Grainger Engineering Library.

When asked why he chose to leave his legacy at Illinois, Fisher said, “When I was at Illinois, we had some of the giants in computing. They taught, did research, but more importantly, they challenged us. They helped us wonder about how things work and gave us the guidance to figure it out. Bonnie and I believe that Illinois must remain a leader in all these areas—and it must excite the next group of students. We must continue to have the best faculty, staff, and facilities.”

Fisher is committed to doing his part to ensure the same level of inspiration and teaching excellence for future generations. Using language in his trust provided by the University of Illinois Foundation—coordinated with a fund agreement laying out the uses of his gift—he can rest assured that his legacy of determination, excellence, and achievement are secure.

The ability to give back is especially gratifying for Fisher, because he came from modest family means and started working at age 14. “My parents wanted me to do well, and help me financially. They also encouraged me to save for my education,” he said. “I’ve probably achieved more than they ever thought possible.”

Today Fisher lives in Minneapolis and works for Ecolab. “I manage a great group of people who develop applications for R&D and our business,” Fisher said. “To this day, my U of I experience helps me provide an exciting and productive environment.”

Note: originally published in Click! Magazine, 2015, volume II.