Challenging the status quo in healthcare
Carl R. Fischer ’64, a Staten Island native who now lives in West Point, Virginia, came to Wagner College in 1960 fresh out of the Navy, where he had served for three years in the Hospital Corps. After being awarded his bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1964 — the first male graduate since Wagner’s nursing program was founded in 1943 — Fischer went on to earn his MSN from the University at Buffalo and his MPH in hospital administration from Yale.
Fischer spent his career as a hospital administrator at four institutions: Yale-New Haven Hospital, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. He never shied away from challenges. “Cincinnati, Arkansas and MCV were all operating in the red when I arrived,” Fischer said. “I made them all profitable.”
Prior to his retirement as CEO in 2000, Fischer was instrumental in moving the $500 million MCV Hospitals out of the Virginia Commonwealth University system into the management of a private authority, thereby preventing the hospitals’ collapse. In 2007, VCU awarded Fischer its Presidential Medallion at its annual commencement exercise.
Carl Fischer has a deep interest in state and local history, archaeology and historic preservation. He currently serves in leadership positions for a number of organizations: the King William County (Virginia) Historical Association, whose museum he spearheaded in 2007; the King William County Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board; the St. John’s Restoration Association, which sponsors the reconstruction and restoration of a historic church building in West Point, Virginia; the Fairfield Foundation in neighboring Gloucester County, Virginia, dedicated to local archaeology and historic preservation; and the Archaeological Society of Virginia, from which he earned his archaeology certification in 2007.
The Wagner College National Alumni Association honored Fischer in June 2011 with the Distinguished Graduate of Wagner Award, its highest achievement award for unique career contributions to his community, state, and the nation.
Carl is married to Lynn Ekstrand Fischer ’65. They have four daughters and seven grandchildren.