By Kassondra Burtis
Hundreds of students graduate from Saint Mary’s University every year, yet few decide to come back and work at the place where they received their education. Bob Fisher is one of those few.
Fisher is a Dec. 1997 SMU graduate with a history major and business minor. He also completed his master’s degree in philanthropy and development from SMU in 2006. He has been working for Saint Mary’s since June 2000, first as director of the annual fund, and just last year switched to associate director for young alumni and student relations.
“One of the reasons that I decided to come back and work here is because Saint Mary’s did so much for me, academically and personally,” Fisher said. “It made me who I am today. I want to help provide those same opportunities that I had and actually create better opportunities for the future students of Saint Mary’s.”
As a student Fisher had a love for music, as he participated in jazz ensemble, jazz combo, concert band, liturgical choir and the musical fraternity Phi Mu Alpha. He also participated in cross country running, cross country skiing, the history club and the SMU historical society.
One of the greatest experiences Fisher was able to be a part of at SMU, he said, was the chance to study abroad in Italy.
“I would say that experience was truly rewarding; and educationally it was rewarding and refreshing,” Fisher said. “The opportunity to travel around with some of your greatest friends, travel around some of the countries in central Europe, to really grow as a person and see other cultures was so important.”
Another highlight of Fisher’s years as a student was doing the Gaslight and Blue Angel shows.
“I’m a performer by hobby and getting up on stage and performing for the student body was always a lot of fun,” Fisher said. “What is awesome for me now is I get to continue that but see it from a different side – see how students grow through those experiences and helping them get more comfortable on stage as one of the advisors of the show.”
Other aspects of Fisher’s SMU experience that helped him to excel included the chance to do three internships – at the history museum in Winona, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the SMU Development Office – as well as the close attention that professors give to students.
“I wasn’t an honors student by any means, but I worked hard, and I learned to really write well as a student here,” Fisher said. “I came in here with fairly poor writing skills, so the attention that the Saint Mary’s faculty and staff gave me was extraordinary.”
One of the things Fisher says hasn’t changed from his time as a student until now is his character.
“I’m always smiling,” Fisher said. “I think the nice guy, smiley Bob is what a lot of people would remember about me.”
Another thing about Fisher that has remained constant is his love of music. He is still active in Phi Mu Alpha, as he is now the faculty advisor of the fraternity.
One piece of advice Fisher has for students as they leave Saint Mary’s students is to stay in touch with the university.
“Stay involved, stay connected and continue embracing our great community because it’s not just a community for four years, it’s a community for life.”