Remembering Professor Emeritus Emeric Fischer

  • A Wonderful Friend
    A Wonderful Friend  Professor Fischer devoted 27 years to William & Mary Law School before his retirement in 1992.  
  • A Wonderful Friend
    A Wonderful Friend  Professor Fischer often caught up with friends at alumni reunions in the Law School.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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Emeric Fischer, William & Mary Law School professor emeritus, passed away on February 19, 2016. Fischer devoted 27 years to William & Mary prior to his retirement in 1992.

“Emeric was a lovely man and a wonderful friend,” said Davison M. Douglas, Dean and Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law. “What I will remember most about Emeric was his exceptionally kind and cheerful demeanor.”

Born in Romania, Fischer immigrated to the United States in 1941 at the age of 15, fleeing from the Nazis prior to the outbreak of World War II. As a U.S. soldier, he returned to Europe, liberating concentration camps.

After the war, Fischer served in the war crimes branch of the U.S. Army, compiling evidence against Nazi party members for the Nuremberg trials. His assignments often send him undercover to search out Nazi sympathizers and collect corroborating evidence. His assignments included being stationed in Vienna, where he presented himself as a GI of European descent who had grown disillusioned with the U.S.

As the Nuremberg trials were drawing to a close, Fischer returned to the U.S. in 1948, where he began his academic career, earning his Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude, in 1952 from the University of South Carolina. He practiced under his CPA license in South Carolina from 1951 to 1960.

Fischer returned to the academic realm and launched his career with William & Mary Law School, earning his J.D. in 1963 and Master of Law and Taxation in 1964 at Marshall-Wythe. As a law student, Fischer served as the Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Law Review.

Fischer was a leader, recognized by his peers for his dedication to students and cultivating an atmosphere of excellence. As an engaging professor, he taught courses including tax, insurance, legal accounting, agency, and trust and estates.

His hard work led the annual tax conference for 27 years, during which he served as director or co-director. He additionally led the graduate program in taxation for nine years, and directed the University of Exeter, UK, summer program for 21 years. He also served as acting dean from 1975-76.

As a scholar, Fischer published significant works in the areas of taxation and insurance law. 

Upon his retirement, the editors of the William & Mary Law Review penned a poignant dedication, “Professor Fischer’s tenure at Marshall-Wythe has been marked by high devotion and loyalty to this institution and by genuine concern and love for his students. He has served his alma mater faithfully and well.”

His commitment to William & Mary was recognized by alumni, faculty, friends, and family members who created an endowed scholarship--the Emeric Fischer Scholarship--at his retirement.

Fischer is survived by his wife of 65 years, Bernice Fischer; his sons, David Fischer J.D. ’78, Joel Fischer, and their families; his daughter, Paula Anderson and her family; and his sister, Ruth Melnicoff.

About William & Mary Law School

Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.