Bill Fisher, who "made TU's campus a home," got a standing ovation during a dinner in his honor recently at the University of Tulsa's Collins Hall.
In recognizing Fisher and his wife, Judy, who are both TU graduates and members of the university's honored Circle Society, Duane Wilson, chairman of TU's board of trustees, noted Fisher's "unique legacy."
"His vision of a green campus filled with trees" has led to the planting of 3,400 trees, "an impressive number for a campus our size, and an investment that will be enjoyed more in another 50 years when future generations will reap the full benefit of Bill's vision," Wilson said.
TU President Geoffrey Orsak said that, as chairman of the buildings and grounds committee, "Bill has established design standards that have governed TU's campus development and transformed every corner of this campus. Bill has served as a member of the TU board of trustees since 1991."
In recognition of Bill's longtime service and deep commitment to his alma mater, he was named a J. Paschal Twyman Award winner in 2002.
Following dinner, guests moved outside for the dedication of the student residence formerly known as Twin Towers and renamed Fisher Hall. Fisher Hall is home to more than 300 students and the Pat Case Dining Center, and is the cornerstone of the residential campus envisioned by its namesake.
The dedication was marked with fireworks lighting the sky over Fisher Hall.
"Wow!" was Fisher's first response. He thanked TU for "this incredible honor" and added that he would not be "here tonight" if it were not for past board chairman Burt Holmes and Bob and Roxana Lorton, who "21 years ago encouraged me to become more involved in the University of Tulsa by joining the TU board," and Charles Norman, "who a year later asked me to chair the building and grounds committee."
Fisher said that the success of such a "massive" project depends on a "leader stepping forward who embodies the project as his passion," and said that past TU board chairman, the late Fulton Collins, "inspired all of TU's family, especially me."
He also cited Robert Jones, a former member of the Tulsa architectural firm Murray Jones Murray, who at the time was a professor of architectural and urban planning at a state university, and who created the first comprehensive TU master plan; and Joel Howell and Arlen Vancuren, who helped create the master landscape plan.
Also recognized were the architect Chris Chivetta; the TU presidential teams of Bob and Marci Lawless and Steadman and Peggy Upham; and the skills of Jan Zink, Kevan Buck, Bob Shipley and "my closest friend and wife, Judy," Fisher said.
The Fishers were joined by family members Hillary and Scott Cowley and their children, Grant, Preston, Thor and Chase; Gayle and Chrys Fisher; Sue and John Fisher; Jennifer Fisher and her guest, John Rhody; and Fern and Bill Fisher III with their daughters, Sophia and Secilia.
Among the many TU trustees attending were Wilson and his wife, Helen; Roxana and Bob Lorton; Susie Collins; Roger Collins and his wife, Francy; Bill Thomas and his wife, Susan; Ellen Adelson and her husband, Steve; Mike Case and his wife, Pat; Fred Dorwart; David Lawson and his wife, Leslie; Jo Siegfried and her husband, Tray; Clifton Taulbert and his wife, Barbara; Chip McElroy and his daughter, Julie; and John Williams and his wife, Cristina Smith Williams, president of the Tulsa chapter board of the TU Alumni Association.
Also, trustees emeritus Don Pray; Bob Norman and his wife, Sandra; and Burt Holmes, there with Mary Lee Townsend.
Others in the crowd were event designer Phil Long, Joyce and Lou Kaiser, Doug Campbell, Janet and Frederick Drummond, Steve Wolfe, Pat and Charlie Ford, Pat Wheeler, Margery Bird, Linda Feagin, Maxine Zarrow, Fran and Bob Biolchini, Peggy Helmerich, Suzanne O'Brien, Marilyn and Al Bush, Peter Walter, Deborah and Roger Erker, Barbara and Jim Sturdivant, Susanna and Henry Will and Barbara Norman.
TU representatives there included Provost Roger Blais and his wife, Mary; Gilcrease Museum executive director Duane King; Jan Zink; Adrian Alexander; Janet Levit; Tom Benediktson and his wife, Caroline; Susan and Rick Neal; and Kara Gae and Ken Neal.
Fisher is the former owner of Miss Jackson's in Utica Square and now lives in Santa Fe, N.M. He is chairman, chief executive officer and president of FisherCorp Inc.