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/




Senator Alexander Gives Statement On Education Department’s Withdrawal Of Proposed Supplement-Not-Supplant Regulation

Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander on Wednesday issued the following statement after the Department of Education withdrew its proposed regulation on Supplement-Not-Supplant: “I am glad the Education Department has listened to Congress and has chosen not to move forward with its proposed 'supplement-not-supplant' regulation. This proposal would have dictated ... (click for more)

Alexander Says Betsy DeVos Is On Our Children’s Side

At Tuesday’s Senate education committee hearing on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to lead the U.S. Department of Education, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, “Betsy DeVos is on our children’s side.  On charter schools and school choice, she is in the mainstream of those trying to help children succeed and her critics are outside of it.” Alexander, who was ... (click for more)

Haslam Unveils Comprehensive Tax Cut And Transportation Proposal Including Higher Gas Tax And Vehicle Registration Fee

Joined by mayors from across the state and leaders in the manufacturing and trucking industries, Governor Bill Haslam on Wednesday announced "a comprehensive and strategic plan to cut taxes on food and manufacturing while updating how the state provides Tennesseans the safe and reliable transportation network needed to support future job growth." The IMPROVE Act, “Improving ... (click for more)

Big Woody's Tree Service Employee Killed In Fall On Signal Mountain

An employee of Woody's Tree Service fell to his death 150 feet off a bluff while trimming trees on Signal Mountain on Wednesday. At  11:22 a.m. , a 911 call was made by an employee of the tree service reporting a man in his early 30s had fallen off a bluff the mountain while trimming trees on private property. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded to 6202 ... (click for more)

Beyond Freedom Of Speech - And Response

Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Is Central’s Auditorium?

I am surely one of the biggest proponents of high school athletics there is, especially after half a decade of being an eye witness to the vast array of lessons that are learned every day by anyone associated with sports. That said, I have watched the Hamilton County Commission waffle on a $500,000 track at Central High School with a certain curiosity because the same high school ... (click for more)