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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University November 26, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 12
Obituary: DOGEE's Jack Fisher, 75, Expert on City Planning

Jack Fisher in 1972

By Angela Roberts
Whiting School of Engineering

Jack C. Fisher, a longtime faculty member in the Whiting School's Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, died Nov. 13 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital of undetermined causes. He was 75. A member of the DOGEE faculty from 1972 to 2000, he also served as the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Metropolitan Planning and Research until 1989.

"Jack was a valuable member of the Whiting School faculty," said Dean Nicholas Jones. "For several years he ran the popular exchange program with Slovenia, giving our students an exciting opportunity to continue their education in another culture. He will be missed."

That sentiment was echoed by his colleague M. Gordon "Reds" Wolman, who told The Baltimore Sun, "Jack was an absolutely fascinating fellow and full of energy and dynamism. After coming to us, he put together so many fascinating programs."

Fisher was born and raised in Cortland, N.Y., and earned his bachelor's degree in political philosophy and doctorate in geography from Syracuse University, following time out from his studies to serve in the Army in Germany.

He began his academic career as an assistant professor at Cornell University, where he focused on city and regional planning and became director of Regional Studies. In 1962, he became the director of the International Urban Studies Program at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he worked until Steven Muller, then president of Johns Hopkins, invited him to lead the university's Center for Metropolitan Planning and Research.

At Johns Hopkins, Fisher's work focused on city and regional planning and included the political and historical geography of Eastern and Western Europe. He also established the International Urban Fellowship Program, partially funded by the Ford Foundation, which brought together urban specialists in Europe and at Johns Hopkins to collaborate on urban problems. Fisher also helped establish one of the country's first study abroad programs designed for engineering students. In the program, undergraduate and graduate students were able to study for six weeks in Austria and Slovenia, while students from the Technical University of Graz and the University of Ljubljana spent six weeks in Baltimore studying at Johns Hopkins.

Fisher, who spoke fluent Serbo-Croatian, Russian and Polish, traveled often and widely throughout Western and Eastern Europe. He held various international appointments, including as an adviser to the Slovenian Ministry of Science and Technology in Ljubljana and as the director- administrator of the Belgrade Transportation and Land Use Study in Yugoslavia.

He is survived by his wife of 25 years, the former Sally Key; his former wife, Katherine A. Fisher of St. Joseph, Mich.; his son, Joseph C. Fisher of St. Joseph, Mich.; his daughter, Margaret L. Barrett of Downers Grove, Ill.; his sister, Susan Brown of Troy, N.Y.; and four grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service at Johns Hopkins have not yet been finalized.


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