Muncie, IN – The Fisher Building, a downtown Muncie landmark and former world headquarters for Ball Corporation, has been donated to the Ivy Tech Foundation for use by Ivy Tech Community College. A gift from Janice B. Fisher, the late John W. Fisher and Fisher Building LLC, the building will now be named Ivy Tech Fisher Campus. Gail Chesterfield, Chancellor of Ivy Tech’s East Central Region, announced the gift at a public ceremony Thursday morning, August 6, in the Fisher Building Auditorium.
The gift comes at a time when Ivy Tech faces unprecedented enrollment growth paired with overcrowded facilities, while state funding is limited. “With current facilities that are maxed out as the result of double digit enrollment growth over the past few years, the Fisher Building will not only help us meet our space needs and expand our course offerings and programs, but will also allow us to create an optimal environment and expand services that focus on student success,” said Chancellor Chesterfield.
“First and foremost, I must express how extremely grateful we are to the Fisher family for their generosity and support of Ivy Tech. We recognize and honor their ongoing commitment to education and the Muncie community,” continued Chancellor Chesterfield. “Their gift will heighten our ability to educate and train the workforce of the 21st century as well as continue to meet the needs of business and industries in our east central Indiana communities.”
The Ivy Tech Foundation received not only the 100,000+ square-foot building, but also the property, the parking lots, the furnishings and fixtures within the building. Foundation Chairperson Ronald K. Fauquher said, “Ivy Tech Foundation is challenged at this time to raise funds to help the college meet critical needs due to growing enrollments. The enormity of this gift by the Fisher family defies valuation; however, we know very clearly that if we were to start from scratch and build a similar building with all of the existing amenities, it would cost more than $20 million. This makes the Fisher’s gift the largest individual gift ever received in the 40-year history of the Ivy Tech Foundation. Our appreciation from the Ivy Tech family and the Muncie and Delaware County community to the Fisher family cannot be overstated. The legacy that Mr. & Mrs. Fisher and their family are leaving in our community is both transformational and historic and will live on for decades for the benefit of thousands of Ivy Tech students.”
Unfortunately, John W. Fisher did not live to witness the impact of his largess, having passed away June 28, 2009 after a lengthy illness. “Our family is honored to be a part of the success and growth of Ivy Tech Community College through this gift,” commented Jim Fisher, son of John W. and Janice B. Fisher. “Obviously, education and its benefits on the careers and lives of the community were important to the Ball family. A great university bears their name, and that legacy now continues with my parents’ family name combined with Ivy Tech’s in a similar philosophy. The intention of this gift was to make possible, during difficult economic times, the classroom and other space needed by the school’s unprecedented expansion and associated growing pains. The added beneficial ripple effect of bringing more people downtown to help Muncie reinvent itself was, in my father’s view, something truly transformational and lasting.”
Longtime benefactors of many organizations in the Muncie community, Indiana and throughout the world, John W. Fisher (1915 – 2009) and Janice B. Fisher have provided not only resources but great leadership, often-times behind the scenes. A major focus of their efforts has been directed towards educational institutions. A Tennessee native, Mr. Fisher was a 1938 graduate of the University of Tennessee and attended the Harvard University Business School, where he was awarded an MBA in 1942. He joined Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company, the forerunner of Ball Corporation as a trainee in 1941. A former President, CEO and Chairman of Ball Corporation, John Fisher served on the boards of many corporations and organizations. He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Ball State University, Butler University, DePauw University and Indiana University. Janice B. Fisher is the daughter of Edmund B. Ball, one of the five industrialist brothers who founded Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company in Muncie in 1887. The Fishers have seven children, 19 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
“We are honored by such an investment in Ivy Tech Community College and education here in East Central Indiana. We continue to see more and more Hoosiers understanding the importance of higher education which is what is needed to be competitive in today’s workplace,” Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder said. “This gift is a terrific example of how a community and its leaders can work together with the state’s community college to provide important educational resources to the residents of their local community during these difficult economic times. This is a historic day for Ivy Tech Community College.”
Jud Fisher, Executive Director of Ball Brothers Foundation and grandson of John W. and Janice B. Fisher, stated, “I can’t think of a more powerful philanthropic gesture to Muncie in recent memory that will positively affect education, economic development and social interaction. My grandparents have been extremely interested in building up this community for nearly a century. My late grandfather’s desire to see educational opportunities and city growth combine in this manner to strengthen Muncie will have a measurable lasting impact on East Central Indiana. I personally look forward to the presence of the Community College downtown.”
Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley, added, “Once again, John and Janice Fisher have given a gift to the people that provides tremendous opportunity. The mere increase in downtown foot traffic will create a huge demand for additional commerce. Their gift not only transforms our City, it enriches our lives. Thank you John and Janice.”
Mary King, Ivy Tech student government officer, responded, “When I heard about Ivy Tech moving their campus downtown, my first thought was how good this is for Ivy Tech and how it will open many new opportunities for people living in Muncie to expand their potential through education. The campus will be more centrally located to students and their families and is convenient for all forms of transportation. Overall, I think it is a great idea to move Ivy Tech’s campus to the downtown area among the businesses and citizens of our fine community.”
About the Fisher Building
Centrally located in downtown Muncie at 345 S. High St., the Fisher Building LLC was built as the international headquarters for Ball Corporation – and dedicated in March of 1976. It occupies the former site of Muncie Central High School. Administrative Management magazine named it “The Office Building of the Year” in 1976. In 1998, Ball Corporation relocated their headquarters to Colorado and the building was occupied by Alltrista Corporation (the spin-off from Ball Corporation which marketed glass containers and food preservation products) and its successor Jarden Home Brands. The Fisher Building LLC, was acquired by retired Ball Corporation President, CEO and Chairman John W. Fisher and has been leased as corporate offices. The building contains over 104,700 SF of space on four floors and a lower level, much of it open-concept type of space, which can easily be divided to fit Ivy Tech’s or a tenants specific needs. In addition to the building, the property includes adjoining parking lots holding 260 vehicles. Current tenants in the Fisher Building LLC include: Muncie Newspapers Inc. / The Star-Press; Saint-Gobain Containers; Estep Burkey Simmons LLC, CPA’s; E-Keepers; Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. and Schindler Elevator, Inc.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 130,000 students enrolled annually. Today 32 percent of households in Indiana have someone who is or has attended Ivy Tech, as the community college has seen over 1 million students go through its doors since 1975. One in six adults in Indiana is taking or has taken a class at Ivy Tech. In the last decade Ivy Tech has seen its enrollment increase by over 50,000 students, making it one of the fastest growing community colleges in the nation.
Ivy Tech Community College has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. Ivy Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. Ivy Tech has a direct impact of over $705 million in Indiana and provides over 9,900 jobs and $296.4 million in total salary and wages.
About Ivy Tech Foundation
Ivy Tech Foundation partners with donors to invest in Ivy Tech Community College students, faculty and programs to build stronger communities and a better Indiana. Founded in 1969, Ivy Tech Foundation holds net assets of more than $55 million.
About Ivy Tech’s East Central Region
The Muncie campus of Ivy Tech Community College (primary campus located on Cowan Road) is part of Ivy Tech’s East Central Region which includes campuses in Anderson and Marion, plus outreach sites in New Castle, Portland, Winchester, Hartford City, Pendleton and Elwood. The region offers 38 associates degrees and technical certificates in more than 80 specialties in six schools: Business, Health Sciences, Public & Social Services, Education, Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences. The East Central Region has experienced a 23 percent increase in enrollment in the past five years and currently serves more than 7,000 students each semester. Currently, enrollment for the region for the fall 2009 semester is up nearly 50 percent. In July, officials announced that the Ivy Tech School of Culinary Arts leased a part of the Patterson Building in downtown Muncie, about three blocks southeast of the new Ivy Tech Fisher Campus, to house this growing part of the community college, which includes more than 150 students.