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DATE: August 15, 2002

Linda E. Fisher, associate professor of biology at UM-Dearborn, died Aug. 13

DEARBORN---Linda Elaine Fisher, associate professor of biology and microbiology and chair of the biology discipline at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, died at the emergency room at Garden City Hospital on August 13. She was 54 years old and a resident of Detroit.

Fisher's research activities focused on virology and microbiology with special interest in emerging infectious diseases, including measles, West Nile virus and HIV. She was a national leader in the area of science education, and lectured widely to professional groups on ways to improve science teaching at the secondary and college levels, and on ways to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in science.

"Her teaching was characterized by deep concern for students' learning and for their ability to write," according to physics Prof. Paul W. Zitzewitz, chairman of the Department of Natural Sciences.


(click on photo above for high-resolution scan.)

"She was the kind of colleague with whom you could feel comfortable in discussing both professional and personal issues, and for that reason, she had many close friends across campus. Even though she had health problems over the past few years, she remained cheerful and positive and devoted to the university."

She was active in the American Society for Microbiology at both the local and national levels. In 2001, she received a two-year appointment in the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology lecturers program, which provides speakers for scientific meetings.

Fisher earned her bachelor's degree in microbiology and German at the University of Kansas in 1969, and earned her doctoral degree in microbiology there in 1974. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in New Jersey and at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine before joining the UM-Dearborn faculty as assistant professor of biology in 1978.

She was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1984. Fisher also served as a visiting scientist at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis and as a visiting professor at Spelman College in Atlanta.

For her service to women's issues on campus and in the community, Fisher was awarded the UM-Dearborn Susan B. Anthony Award in 1988. She also was recognized for her mentoring activities by an award from the Detroit chapter of the Association for Women in Science.

Fisher also served on numerous campus committees, including the chancellor search committee in 1999-2000, the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters executive committee, the Faculty Senate, the disability resources advisory committee and a diversity taskforce.

In addition to her teaching and research, Fisher was advisor to the biological students' honor society, Tri-Beta, and volunteered several summers as an instructor in a program to introduce girls to the world of science. The program called "Labcoats and Microscopes" was coordinated with the Michigan Metro Girl Scout Council.

Fisher also was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Fisher is survived by her husband, Louis, an architect, and her 14-year-old son, Jason.

Memorial services are planned for 1 p.m. Saturday, August 24, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 17567 Hubbell Ave. in Detroit.

Contributions may be made to the University of Michigan-Dearborn to support students in the sciences. Checks may be sent to the Office of Institutional Advancement, Room 1040 Administration Building, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, Mich. 48128.

For additional photos of Prof. Fisher, please visit the Department of Natural Sciences homepage.




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