UTC Student, Robert Fisher, Earns Prestigious National Scholarship Recognition

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Pictured:  Robert Fisher
Pictured: Robert Fisher

Robert Fisher, a Brock Scholar and Student Government Association president at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has been named a 2014 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Mr. Fisher plans to earn his undergraduate degree in political science in May 2015. He is the fourth student in the school’s history to be named a Truman Scholar.

“Robert Fisher’s student career at UTC has been nothing short of illustrious. He has been entrusted with the leadership of the UTC Student Government Association and has taken that office to new heights; he has helped forge new relationships between UTC and the larger Chattanooga community with his work in the city and the mayor’s office; he has contributed a powerful student voice to the larger statewide conversation about higher education in Tennessee via his work with the governor’s office,” said Dr.

Linda Frost, dean of the UTC Honors College.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, President of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, made today’s announcement. There are 59 exceptional college students from 52 U.S. colleges and universities who were selected from among 655 candidates. They were chosen by 17 independent selection panels on the basis of the finalists’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

Fisher will receive up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

“This is such a tremendous honor,” Mr. Fisher said. “The process of applying for the Truman Scholarship provided me with the opportunity to thoughtfully consider the avenues through which I can serve others. This distinction not only signifies my lifelong commitment to public service, it truly provides me with additional leverage to make meaningful and positive change in the lives of other people. That thought gives me chills.”

A 2011 graduate of Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tennessee, Fisher has been a UTC standout since he arrived on campus. He has held multiple leadership roles at UTC, including president and treasurer of the UTC Student Government Association; chairperson of the UTC Brock Scholars Council; and a member of the UTC Freshman Senate, the UTC Admissions Team, and the UTC Chancellor’s Roundtable. Additionally, he has served on the UTC Complete College Strategic Task Force, the UTC Honors College Planning Committee, and the UTC Student Rating of Faculty Instruction Committee.

His community service includes volunteering as a mentor in the UTC Center for Community Career Education and as the Millennial Advocate for the Benwood Foundation Urban Redesign Steering Committee.

Among his many public service appointments, Mr. Fisher served as the Student Commissioner to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, as a member of the UT Advocacy Council Oversight Committee, and as co-chair of Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke’s Chattanooga Forward Initiative for the Downtown Revitalization Taskforce. He was named Student Representative of Academic Affairs and Student Success for the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. 

Mr. Fisher’s awards and honors include being named an Institute Scholar at the Institute for Responsible Citizenship and a Presidential Fellowship at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. At UTC, he was the recipient of a William E. Brock Scholarship and a UTC Provost Scholarship, and he was named UTC Student Government Association Freshman Senator of the Year.

“Robert is a powerful representative not just of UTC or of Tennessee, but of his generation,” Dr. Frost said. “He will transform higher education, wherever he goes, and winning the Truman—one of the most competitive and prestigious national scholarships in existence—simply shows that the representatives of the Truman Foundation recognized that fact."

Now that he has been selected as a Truman Scholar, Mr. Fisher will apply for the Washington Summer Institute. He has expressed interest in the Office of Post-Secondary Education, which is housed in the Department of Education. OPE formulates national higher education policies and administers programs that strive to improve access and affordability related to post-secondary education in America.

“At OPE, I would specifically like to work in the program office specializing in institutional service that provides individual institutions with monetary support to undergo comprehensive development. This area is critically important, especially for higher education institutions that seek to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students. This work will also align with my honors thesis, in which I plan to study HEIs and their impact on the communities they serve,” Mr. Fisher wrote in his application for the Truman Scholarship.

Looking ahead, Mr. Fisher said in his Truman application he intends to pursue the Masters in Public Administration at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. He added that he sees himself working as the director of a higher education policy program at a leading university or think tank in the next five to seven years. “This position will enable me to inform the discussion framing the contemporary challenges for higher education institutions on a national scale,” he wrote.

For more information, visit https://www.truman.gov/





Students At E.L. Ross Elementary Earn Imagine Learning “Beacon School” Award

Leading EdTech company Imagine Learning announced E.L. Ross Elementary School in Cleveland as one of their distinguished “Beacon School” award winners. "Students at E.L. Ross worked hard all school year on the Imagine Language & Literacy program, completing lessons and reaching individualized academic goals," officials said. The Beacon School award was earned by less ... (click for more)

Adult Education Moving To Chattanooga State On July 2

The TCAT Athens Adult Education program in Hamilton County will be moving the James A. Henry office to the main campus of Chattanooga State Community College on Amnicola Highway. Adult Education offices and classrooms will be located on the second floor of the Center for Business, Industry and Health (CBIH) building. “Adult Education provides critical educational opportunities ... (click for more)

Former City Education Commissioner John P. Franklin Dies

John Porter Franklin, long a leading figure in Chattanooga city government, has died.  He was the city's first, elected black official, post Jim Crow laws, in 1971. Mr. Franklin's father, G.W. Franklin, was a pioneer funeral home director and John Franklin continued in that line. He was first an official in Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home, then he started John P. Franklin ... (click for more)

All School Board Members But Rhonda Thurman Approve Going Ahead With Equity Study

All County School Board members except Rhonda Thurman said Thursday afternoon they are in favor of pushing ahead with an equity study sought by new Supt. Bryan Johnson. Ms. Thurman said she was "tired of bullying tactics by outside groups" such as UnifiEd and Chattanooga 2.0. She said the 132 people who signed a letter in support of the study include people "with deep pockets" ... (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Not A Blessed One

When I read, to no great surprise, that 132 of Chattanooga’s “leaders” had signed a letter in support of “socioeconomic integration” in Thursday’s Times Free Press, there were two things that were immediately obvious to me: Not a blessed one would have (a) written such a letter on their personal stationery, and (b) not a blessed one would have ever voted for the current president ... (click for more)