On Oct. 20, our Fox family suffered a great loss with the passing of Lisa Fitch. Lisa was a member of the Temple University community for three decades. From an administrator in the Accounts Payable Department to senior associate director of PhD Programs at the Fox School of Business, Lisa brought her commitment to diversity, inclusion and student-focused service to all she did.
In celebrating her life, members of the Temple community share their thoughts and memories about Lisa’s significant impact.
“Lisa was synonymous with the Fox PhD program,” says Sunil Wattal, managing director of the Fox PhD programs. “Her commitment and dedication to the students was exemplary. She would always go above and beyond her job to make things easier for the students.”
“I think of Lisa as a mover of mountains,” says Mary Conran, chief academic officer of Temple University Rome. “Her patience, persistence and focus on her goals to serve our program and our students always resulted in positive outcomes.”
Lisa was a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion practices. She led several efforts to advance the Fox School’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She was a great champion of the PhD Project, which aims to increase the diversity of business school faculty by encouraging students of color to obtain doctoral degrees.
“She was a special advocate for African American students,” says Susan Mudambi, academic director of the Executive DBA program. “She helped me to understand how I can make a difference and be anti-racist, before that was a common term. Lisa was the heart and soul of the Fox doctoral programs.”
Earlier this year, Lisa co-organized a networking event for more than 80 members of the Fox community to celebrate the school’s history of inclusion and diversity among its faculty, staff and students at the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, located in Temple University’s Sullivan Hall.
“Lisa had been at the forefront of several school-wide initiatives,” says Ron Anderson, dean of the Fox School and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM). “Just before she passed, school leadership appointed her as a founding member of our newly launched Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. It’s a fitting tribute to Lisa’s legacy that the council will continue to work to ensure DEI values are embedded into our culture.”
In her email signature, Lisa always had a quote commonly attributed to author Ian Maclaren: “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle.” Lisa exemplified this attitude in her interactions with her colleagues. Thanks to her decades at the university and warm personality, one could not accompany Lisa across campus, or even down the hall, without stopping to say hello to one of her dear acquaintances.
Many colleagues, even those who did not work with Lisa extensively, reminisce about her genuine interest in others. She always had a welcoming smile or a warm hello to those she knew. She especially loved asking her colleagues with young children, “How’s the baby?” and never missed an opportunity to meet a future Temple Owl.
Her love for her family and her deep faith were other hallmarks of her personality. Jackie Arnold, senior administrative assistant in the Dean’s Office, remembers Lisa as a long-time colleague and friend. “We shared many things along our journey here at Fox. We loved telling each other stories about the joys and trials of raising our children and grandchildren, our thirst for education and our deep love for God.”
The entire Fox community mourns the loss of Lisa Fitch, but her memory and her legacy live on through the great impact she has made on our school.