Jud Fisher’s Remarks at Ivy Tech Community College Ribbon Cutting for the “Fisher Campus” in Downtown Muncie
On August 1, 2019, Ivy Tech held a ribbon cutting to celebrate renovations to the “Fisher Building”—now renamed the “John & Janice Fisher Campus” in downtown Muncie. Printed below is a copy of remarks prepared for the occasion by Jud Fisher, Ball Brothers Foundation’s president & chief operating officer.
“My grandparents, John and Janice Fisher, purchased this building from Ball Corporation when the company made the decision to move to Colorado. They wanted to preserve the former Ball headquarters—a facility that had served as heart and soul of the global company for around two decades. They wanted to find a positive future for it, something they started to do by leasing space to The Star Press and Ivy Tech, among others.
While I was trying to sum up my thoughts about where Ivy Tech Community College has come with this building, I found an old letter in a file from 2008. Although the letter is 11 years old, I do not believe I can improve on how I feel about the transformation of this campus as we see it today. Let me read portions of the letter to you all:
September 25, 2008
Dear Governor Daniels,
There is a growing interest in Muncie and Delaware County for Ivy Tech Community College to move to downtown Muncie…
Through various complementary initiatives (including an Ivy Tech conceptual study) as well as simple common sense, the impetus exists for Ivy Tech to relocate closer to the active core of this area.
Ivy Tech could be the innovative centerpiece for the downtown that would coalesce an environment of learning, economic development, and social experience. Collaborative efforts with Ball State University, Ball Memorial Hospital, and other reciprocating entities would invigorate and fortify a solid base of learning and working for the region. This is a natural utilization of a focal area and its resources as opposed to building a campus in a sparsely inhabited location requiring more driving, little or no interaction with other assets, and the continuance of the negative course of urban sprawl.
The Community College’s presence in downtown Muncie would… act as another unifying point for the community… and centralize the hub of education squarely in the heart of the city. Manufacturing remains strong in the region, yet technology and automation reduce the need for large numbers of factory workers. The combination of the college and university in Muncie would address this by providing a greater diversity of employees locally, statewide, and nationally…
This would be a major decision, yet the consequences of a more vibrant city and more tightly bound college/university relationship would create an innovative education and economic center like no other in the state.
Governor Daniels replied swiftly with a note to me that stated that I knew he had no authority regarding where any institution moves since that is up to the administrators and the trustees.
But my letter was not really to the governor. It was to the people copied on the letter, the lead individual being John W. Fisher—my boss at the time. Others copied were then president of Ivy Tech Tom Snyder, chancellor Gail Chesterfield, mayor McShurley, and Ball State’s president Jo Ann Gora.
My grandfather only brought the letter up once in the fall of 2008. He said, ‘I liked your letter about Ivy Tech’ when we were driving to a meeting in Indy. He never addressed the subject again with me.
So, in the spring of 2009, I was pleased when I heard about my grandparent’s plan to donate the building to Ivy Tech. My grandparents passed away in close succession relatively soon after that, and my family, led by my Uncle Jim Fisher, assisted with the transition of the building to Ivy Tech.
My grandparents had always been proponents of education, and this was a perfect way to combine a great downtown facility with a world-class institution. Ivy Tech is the positive future John and Janice Fisher were looking for when they were planning their legacy.
I want to thank Ivy Tech’s former and current administrators and trustees for transforming this facility into such a high quality center of learning. The heart of downtown Muncie beats stronger because of the College’s actions. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts on this special day.”