Former NSU president Abraham Fischler dies at 89

Former NSU president Abraham Fischler passed away on April 3 at 89 years old from natural causes, according to an NSU press release and the Sun Sentinel.

Fischler served as NSU’s second president from 1970-1992, a total of 22 years. He is survived by his wife and five children. In honor of his death, NSU lowered its flags to half-mast on April 3. Fischler’s funeral was held on April 5 at Temple Beth El in Hollywood, Florida.

According to current NSU President George Hanbury, who gave a eulogy at Fischler’s funeral, Fischler was buried in a simple pine box. Hanbury said that Fischler was both humble and self-effacing.

“In the sense of the poet, he ‘walked with kings but kept the common touch,’” Hanbury said. “In other words, he could communicate with the highest but he was always humble and he never forgot where his roots were…he would be able to thrive in chaos without getting emotionally involved. He would always remain calm.”

Hanbury said that Fischler was an innovator who foresaw distance learning and the importance of technology in the classroom before it was widely accepted. Hanbury added that Fischler had great perseverance and a wonderful vision. According to Hanbury, Fischler’s greatest achievement was holding the university together when it looked like it might fail in the early 70s and 80s.

“He was a great man,” Hanbury said. “He was definitely a visionary before his time.”

According to Hanbury’s email announcement concerning Fischler’s death, Fischler’s academic career included a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from City College of New York, a master’s in science education from New York University and a doctorate in education from Columbia University. He became a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and assistant professor at Harvard before finding his way to NSU in 1966, becoming president four years later.

During Fischler’s presidency, the university grew from 57 students to over 10,000. He added to the Oceanographic Center, built new dorms, gained accreditation for NSU’s law school and helped to create the University School.

NSU was the second-largest private university in the state when Fischler resigned in 1992. He continued his work with education as a member and chairman of Broward County’s school board and wrote more than 25 articles, books and studies on educational topics.

“He maintained an office on east campus [almost] until the day he died – the last couple months obviously he was in great pain, but he was a fine man,” Hanbury said.

Caption: Fischler served as President of NSU from 1970-1992.

Credit: J. Spechler

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