Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professorship

The Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professorships have been made possible through a gift from George M. C. and Patricia Ann Fisher, in honor of the late Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher, George’s parents. The Fisher Professorships are awarded to outstanding faculty in the College of Engineering, supporting their research laboratories.

In 1934, Mr. Ralph M. Fisher graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture. Soon after, he began working for the Illinois Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry, where he developed and managed the Union County State Tree Nursery in Jonesboro and the Mason State Tree Nursery in Topeka. After moving to Connecticut in 1946, the family returned to Illinois in 1967, when Mr. Fisher accepted a position as horticulturist and landscape architect for the state’s department of transportation in District 3, located in Ottawa. During his career, Mr. Fisher operated and managed some of the largest and most progressive commercial nurseries throughout the United States.

Mrs. Catherine V. Fischer graduated from the University of Illinois in 1934 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences, with a focus on sociology. After raising nine children, including four University of Illinois graduates, she completed postgraduate work through University of Illinois extension courses and Trenton State Teachers College and starting teaching in 1965. Before she retired in 1977, Mrs. Fisher developed a special education program in the Ottawa, Illinois schools.


Dr. George M. C. Fisher is a Senior Advisor at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company. He served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Eastman Kodak Company fromGeorge M. C. Fisher 1993 to 1999. Prior to joining Kodak, Dr. Fisher worked at Motorola, Inc. from 1976-1993, becoming President and Chief Executive Officer in 1988. Before starting his career and spending ten years at Bell Laboratories, Dr. Fisher graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1962, and he completed master’s and doctoral degrees at Brown University in 1964 and 1966.

Dr. Fisher is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, recognized for “leadership in electronic communications and for guiding a company to a preeminent position in wireless communications worldwide,” and he is Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Fisher was inducted into the College of Engineering’s Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois in 2010. In 1996, he was recognized by the University with an honorary degree. Dr. Fisher has also generously established the George and Ann Fisher Endowed Professorships Fund in Engineering.


Klara NahrstedtCurrently serving as Director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory, Professor Klara Nahrstedt was appointed as Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professor of Computer Science in August 2002. Nahrstedt is a leading researcher in multimedia systems, having made multiple seminal contributions in quality of service (QoS) management for distributed multimedia systems, changing the way multimedia end-system architectures are designed and built.

Nahrstedt is also widely recognized as a seminal world leader in the 3D teleimmersive systems and networking field. Her research group developed the first multi-view 3D video adaptation framework for bandwidth management, and the first view-casting protocols for multi-view 3D video. Her group also created new metrics for 3D immersive video and the first comprehensive framework for multi-modal session management in teleimmersive environments based on sound theoretical underpinnings.

She has also made important contributions in the area of multimedia scheduling for mobile devices, with fundamental contributions to energy-efficient, dynamic, soft-real-time CPU scheduling for mobile multimedia devices.

Nahrstedt received her bachelor’s in mathematics and master’s degree in numerical analysis from Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. She was a research scientist in the Institute for Informatik in Berlin until 1990. After receiving her PhD from the Department of Computer and Information Science at University of Pennsylvania, she joined CS @ ILLINOIS in 1995.

A Fellow of IEEE and ACM, Nahrstedt has also been recognized with the Humboldt Research Award (2009), as a University Scholar (2009), with the IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award (2012), with the SIGMM Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions (2014), and has been inducted into the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2013).