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Blue Mountain’s Harold Fisher to retire after 35 years as college’s president

BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. (BP)–E. Harold Fisher has announced he will retire after 35 years as president of Baptist-affiliated Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Miss., effective June 30.

“A new president should be selected to provide the necessary leadership as the college moves into the 21st century,” Fisher, 69, the school’s sixth president, said in a prepared statement. “There are programs to be initiated which should be developed by one who will have the satisfaction of seeing them successfully developed and implemented as has been my privilege as I have served the college.”

An increase of almost 41.5 percent in enrollment has been recorded during Fisher’s tenure, with 480 students currently enrolled. More than 47 percent of all BMC graduates received their degrees during his presidency.

BMC also has added a medical technology program, a church-related vocations emphasis, classes on weekends and each night except Wednesday and new courses in sociology, computer science, honors, readings and practicums. A special program to permit teacher assistants to earn a degree in five years was added in 1986.

Scholarship assistance has increased 7,000 percent, and a scholarship program for church-related vocations was begun in 1994 in which annual scholarships of $1,000 are awarded to students majoring in church-related vocations. A total of 59 students currently receive those scholarships.

During Fisher’s administration, four new buildings were constructed: Cockroft Dormitory, 1968; Paschal Student Center, 1970; maintenance shop, 1989; and Broach Hall, 1993.

Whitfield Dormitory and the Modena Lowery Berry Auditorium were renovated and restored, from 1998-99. Extensive renovations were made to the library and to the science and family and consumer science labs in the administration building.

Under Fisher’s leadership, the school’s budget increased 930 percent, income increased 970 percent, and the endowment rose 729 percent to $6,876,480.

Fisher received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and also did postgraduate work at the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City.

Fisher has been married for 44 years to the former Mary Huggins of Oxford, a 1952 BMC graduate who retired in 1996 after 26 years of teaching in the college’s business department. They have three adult children and seven grandchildren.

“During the past 35 years much progress has been made as we have worked together to implement a quality program of Christian higher education at BMC,” Fisher said. “The 35-year journey has not always been easy, but through it all God has provided the guidance and leadership necessary to accomplish what we all have done together.”

BMC trustees have formed a search committee to consider Fisher’s replacement. John McRae of Atlanta, an executive search counselor specializing in higher education, has been retained to assist the search committee.

McRae can be contacted at 1930 N. Druid Hills Road NE, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30319-4120; telephone, (404) 325-3252.

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