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Iyer: George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Professorship: George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor in Engineering

George M. C. Fisher, a native of Anna, Illinois, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1962. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees from Brown University, he began his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Later he joined Motorola, Inc., eventually becoming the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. He assumed leadership of Eastman Kodak Company in 1993.

Fisher is active in civic, educational, and community affairs and has served on the University of Illinois Foundation’s Board of Directors since 1987. He was national co-chair of Campaign Illinois. He has been a force in national business affairs, serving as chairman of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness from 1991 to 1993 and has also been active in international trade issues. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993 and was named to the National Academy of Engineering in 1994.

Ann Wallace Fisher received a bachelor of arts degree from Chapman College in 1964 and, with her husband, is a supporter of the University of Illinois. Together they have pledged $2 million to the College of Engineering to fund two George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professorships and two Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professorships, the latter in honor of Dr. Fisher’s parents.

Ravi Iyer
Ravi Iyer

Ravishankar Iyer

George M. C. Fisher is chairman, president, and CEO of Eastman Kodak Co. He and his wife Ann pledged $2 million to the College of Engineering to fund two George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professorships and two Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professorships, the latter in honor of Dr. Fisher's parents.

In his introduction of Iyer, ECE Professor Ken Jenkins said, "We have a great history of computer engineering on this campus, but I think it was about the time that Ravi joined the group that activity within that group really began to come alive. I think Ravi's contributions are particularly due not only to his technical skills but also to his skills for leadership and persistence in the field."

Born in New Delhi, India, he received a BE in 1973 and a PhD in 1977 from the University of Queensland in Australia. A faculty member since 1983, Ravishankar Iyer is co-director of the Center for Reliable and High- Performance Computing. During his distinguished career, he has made fundamental and pioneering contributions to the design and validation of reliable and fault tolerant computing systems.

Upon formal investiture of his Professorship, Iyer thanked his colleagues and the university. "I've not found a more supportive environment than Illinois," he said. "Other universities say that in Illinois they let everybody build their own empires. I think that is why this department is so great and why we have such a wonderful university in the middle of the cornfields."

Stepping to the podium, Fisher congratulated Iyer and reminisced about his time as an undergraduate at U of I, emphasizing the importance of the faculty in shaping his career. "I think it is very important to all students," he said, "to have faculty not only who are substantive and are world experts, but who actually steer us in directions in our career that we might not have otherwise taken. I think professors have a unique opportunity to build people, not just information."