Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy
The Story of Ben and Maytee Fisch
The story of Ben and Maytee Fisch is a charming tale of a young couple that met in college and then built a life of community involvement and quiet philanthropy. Their story accents the spirit of The University of Texas at Tyler and the people of East Texas. It is quite fitting that our new College of Pharmacy is named in their honor.
Ben and Maytee Fisch met in the early 1940s while attending The University of Texas at Austin as students in the College of Pharmacy. The two quickly became friends and were often seen studying together and enjoying the sites around campus.
Ben Fisch knew while growing up in Richmond, Virginia that pharmacy was the path he would take in college. He was greatly influenced by one of his cousins who worked as a hospital pharmacist and helped Ben appreciate the important role a pharmacist plays in the appropriate use of medications. Maytee Robinson, however, was less sure about pharmacy as a career. Maytee was interested in both pharmacy and law and was split as to which would be the best area of study. Little did she realize that her decision to enroll in the College of Pharmacy would lead to a lifetime of joy with a man she would soon meet.
With a class of just over a dozen students, it was inevitable that Ben and Maytee would spend a lot of time together. As their friendship grew, they discovered that they shared many of the same interests, values, and goals. In June 1945, just before graduation, Ben proposed to Maytee and they became engaged. On July 29 of the same year, Ben and Maytee began the first of their 56 years together.
In the meantime, Ben had decided to advance his education and pursue medicine. His application to Southwestern Medical School in Dallas was accepted and he was excited about the future. Maytee was offered a pharmacy position in New Jersey and had also been awarded a scholarship to The University of Texas Medical School in Galveston. Again, Maytee faced a difficult career decision. Together, they decided to remain in Texas and move to Dallas so Ben could pursue his medical education and Maytee could build a home for their family. Ben graduated in 1949, and began his general practice an hour north in Gainesville and then two additional years of training as an allergist and immunology specialist.
The Fisch family moved to Tyler in 1960 where Dr. Fisch founded the Allergy Clinic and practiced as an allergist for over a quarter century. Known for his kindness and extraordinary care, Dr. Fisch was a cherished member of the East Texas community. In addition to the praise given to him by his many patients, Dr. Fisch received numerous awards from the professional and academic communities. Most notably was the honor of being bestowed the Gold-Headed Cane Award by the Smith County Medical Society for his years of commitment and activity in the community. Ben and Maytee were also recognized by The University of Texas at Tyler in 2001 as the Patriots of the Year, an award given to community members who have made a meaningful, sustaining impact on the University.
The Ben and Maytee Fisch Foundation was created to provide philanthropic support to the greater East Texas community. The reason they chose the region is the strong affection Ben and Maytee had towards the community and its people. The area around Tyler that the Ben and Maytee Fisch Foundation support was determined based on the travel that Dr. Fisch did as a practicing allergist to network with fellow physicians. As a specialist, Dr. Fisch relied heavily on referrals from other doctors serving East Texas. While Dr. Fisch may have chosen to contact these doctors through the phone or mail, he preferred the personal touch and would drive out to the doctor's offices to have a personal conversation. Although he drove many miles to meet with his colleagues, he always promised Maytee that he would be home for supper, and he was true to his word. So, the distance Dr. Fisch could travel in a day became the area in East Texas the Foundation would support.
Photo of Ben and Maytee Fisch from The Cactus; Texas Student Publications, Inc. 1945.