Max M. Fisher, 96, died at his home in Franklin, Michigan, on March 3, 2005.
Throughout his life, Max M. Fisher was a model for those who are committed to making a positive difference in the world around them.
In addition to his focus on his family, Max Fisher‘s life revolved around: business leadership; civic responsibility; maintaining life long connections; living integrity; and believing in the value of hard work.
Because of the amazing journey of his life, Max M. Fisher is considered equal parts man and legend. The internationally known businessman, advisor, and diplomat was a driving force for positive change in the country, and the world. A self-made man, Max Fisher spent much of his life raising money for philanthropic and political endeavors and was an active supporter of charitable and civic organizations.
His skill at diplomacy kept him connected to every administration since Eisenhower’s. He was a trusted advisor to United States presidents and Israeli prime ministers, playing a remarkable role in the history of both countries.
Mr. Fisher sat on the board of Comerica, the consumer and investment bank, and Sotheby's. He earned 13 honorary degrees and nearly 50 awards from organizations such as the Jewish Welfare Federation and the United Way of America. He was also the subject of articles, debates, TV documentaries, and a biography, entitled “Quiet Diplomat” by Peter Golden. Born in Pittsburgh to Russian immigrants, he grew up in the small town of Salem, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University on a football scholarship. After graduating with a degree in business administration in 1930, he joined his father's oil reclamation business in Detroit. Through hard work, instinct and his legendary bridge-building, he grew the business into one of the largest gas station chains in the Midwest before selling the business in 1959 and investing in a series of stock and real estate deals that made him one of the country’s wealthiest men.
In 1993, Mr. Fisher’s desire to see Ohio State’s business college become one of the premier management institutions in the country resulted in a generous gift that spearheaded the building of what is now recognized as one of the finest business school campuses anywhere. In recognition of his commitment, the college was named the Max M. Fisher College of Business that year.
Today Max M. Fisher College of Business is consistently ranked among the top public business schools in the country. One of the facets of the school that is noted by many is the quality of the people at Fisher: faculty, staff and of course, students. At Fisher we are proud to operate in a way that mirrors Max Fisher’s values; we reward those who work hard and who stand up for what they believe in; ethics and excellence are part of our daily behavior; we encourage and applaud risk-taking; and we recognize individuals who exemplify the notion that what truly matters in life is not one particular act of accomplishment, but rather an entire life of involvement.
Max Fisher once described his alma mater as a place that provided him with opportunities to take risks, shape his own future and develop a base to leave a significant impression on the world of business. That vision, along with Mr. Fisher’s devotion to the college and greater community, is what fuels Fisher College of Business.