KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An Indiana couple’s $1 million gift to the University of Tennessee will provide learning opportunities for faculty in the colleges of engineering and business.
John and Janice Fisher of Muncie, Ind., established the Fisher Family Faculty Endowment in 1984 as part of UT’s Tennessee Tomorrow Campaign with a pledge of $l million. They recently doubled that pledge, committing an additional $1 million to the fund as part of UT’s 21st Century Campaign. Fisher is national vice chairman of the campaign.
The endowment allows the deans of the two colleges to reward meritorious faculty performance with salary supplements, funds for scholarly research, and for travel. It also makes available visiting professorships and academic equipment purchases.
The 21st Century Campaign has a goal of $250 million, including $130 million for the Knoxville campus. Endowed professorships and faculty support are among top priorities of the campaign.
“Janice and I feel strongly that good students and inspired faculty make a great university,” John Fisher said. “Business and engineering working together will train and educate the business leaders, particularly in manufacturing, that this country needs. We hope our gifts will enable the university to stay in the forefront of education.”
Fisher is the former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Ball Corp., headquartered in Muncie. He retired in 1986 after 45 years with the company. He has been a member of the UT Development Council for over 25 years and has chaired the council. He is on the advisory boards of the colleges of engineering and business administration.
Born in Walland, Tenn., Fisher earned a degree in business from UT in 1938. He is a director and former chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers and has continued his business and educational interests by serving on several corporate boards and various educational committees.
UT President Joe Johnson commended the Fisher’s long-standing support of the university.
“The basis for the quality of this institution is good teaching and scholarly activity by our faculty. Gifts, like those of the Fishers, offer tangible incentives for faculty that the state cannot always supply,” Johnson said.
“This impressive gift will help guarantee that both colleges will have the ability to attract and retain excellent faculty. John and Janice have supported the university with gifts and sound advice for a long time. They are true friends of this institution.”
UT-Knoxville Chancellor Bill Snyder said Fisher has always had an interest in advancing both the business and engineering colleges. He also had a leadership position in engineering’s “Bridge To the Future” campaign.
“John Fisher combined good business skills and an intense interest in technology to make the Ball Corp. one of the most successful in the nation,” Snyder said. “We are pleased that he and Mrs. Fisher have made this generous addition to their faculty endowment fund.”
Contact: John Sheridan (423-974-2115)
Jack Williams (423-974-6878)