The James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education

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The James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education celebrates individuals, organizations, foundations, corporations or publications for their extraordinary contributions to education nationally or internationally. Presented for more than 60 years, the award was renamed in 1986 in honor of CASE’s second president.

Nomination and Selection Process

The deadline for nominations is October 15, 2018.

Nomination instructions

In order to be considered, all nominations must be submitted online. Do not send supporting materials such as pictures or news and magazine clippings with your nomination. Each nomination must include the following:

  • A completed online entry form which includes answers (from the nominator instead of a traditional nomination letter) to the following:

Describe the length, type and variety of service that the nominee has given the field of education.

Describe the nominee's service and resulting impact on education nationally or internationally.

  • Nominee's professional or related vita. If you are nominating a foundation/organization please include a description of the organization, a mission statement, and a brief history in place of the vita.
  • Two supporting letters (not from the nominator) endorsing the nomination. Ideally a supporting letter should be no longer than two pages. The support letters should be addressed to:

Awards Subcommittee
1307 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005

Examples of letters from previous winners


Nominations are reviewed by an awards subcommittee made up of members of the Committee on the Profession of the CASE Board of Trustees.

Selection process

The awards subcommittee reviews all nominations and votes to select a recipient. The Committee on the Profession then reviews the selection at the spring CASE Board of Trustees meeting. The board approves the winner of the award.


After the board meeting, CASE notifies the nominator who submitted the winning candidate. A letter from CASE's president is sent to the recipient. Letters are also sent to the nominators of unsuccessful candidates.

Award presentation

Distinguished Service Awards are presented at CASE's annual Summit for Leaders in Advancement in July.

Past Recipients

2017 Frederick Ruiz
2016 The Atlantic Philanthropies
2015 The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation
2014 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
2013 Gordon and Betty Moore
2012 David Rubenstein
2011 No award given
2010 The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation
2009 ARCS Foundation Inc.
2008 Vartan Gregorian
2007 Bernard and Barbro Osher; Eugene Tempel
2006 Claudio X. González Guajardo
2005 Landrum Bolling
2004 David H. Ponitz
2003 George Keller
2002 Thomas W. Lambeth
2001 KPMG Foundation; Bernard J. Milano
2000 John Merrow; Women's Philanthropy Institute
1999 The Lilly Endowment
1998 Gov. Zell Miller
1997 I. King Jordan
1996 William C. Friday
1995 Adele Coryell Hall; Sandy Auld Mactaggart; W.M. Keck Foundation
1994 The United Negro College Fund
1993 The League for Innovation in the Community College
1992 Fred W. Friendly
1991 The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
1990 Steven Muller
1989 Jaime Escalante; Editorial Projects in Education
1988 Eugene Lang
1987 Clairborne deBorda Pell
1986 James Lee Fisher
1985 Howard R. Bowen
1984 Robert L. Payton
1983 Edward C. Merrill; The American University of Beirut
1982 Thomas H.B. Symons
1981 Governing Boards of CASE Institutions
1980 Jerome H. Holland
1979 Ernest Boyer
1978 Clark Kerr
1977 Gov. Jerry Opodaca
1976 Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh
1975 Dewint C. Reddick
1974 Asa S. Knowles
1973 W.K. Kellog Foundation
1972 Frederick D. Patterson
1971 Chronicle of Higher Education
1970 John Holt Myers; Conrad Teitell
1969 Wayne Morse
1968 James F. Oates Jr.
1967 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
1966 Herman B. Wells
1965 The Saturday Review
1964 Edith Green
1963 John M. Stainaker
1962 Sebastion S. Kresge; Colgate W. Darden Jr.
1961 Frank H. Sparks; The Des Moines Register and Tribune
1960 Terry Ferrer
1959 John W. Gardner; W. Homer Turner
1958 Advertising Council; Financial Aid to Education; Devereaux D. Josephs
1957 Joint Council of Educational Television
1956 Arthur S. Adams; The Ford Foundation
1955 Council for Financial Aid to Education
1954 Columbia University; J. William Fulbright
1953 Frank W. Abrams; The Fund for Adult Education
1952 Fred M. Hechinger
1951 No award
1950 No award
1949 George F. Zook
1948 Boyd H. McKeown; Lowell Institute
1947 William G. Avirett
1946 Howard W. Blakeslee
1945 No award
1944 School and Society
1943 Benjamin Fine
1942 Watson Davis
1941 The New York Times