Charter class grad worked for President Reagan

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David Fischer, a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law School’s charter class, recently shared his story with The Universe.

“When I heard that the Y would be opening a new law school, I knew that is where I wanted to go,” Fischer said.

Fischer was eager to attend BYU for law school, but he remembers feeling apprehension on his first day.

David Fischer, left, speaks with former President Ronald Reagan. Fischer, a member of the law school's 1973 charter class, worked as President Reagan's executive assistant during his presidency.
David Fischer, left, speaks with former President Ronald Reagan. Fischer, a member of the law school’s 1973 charter class, worked as President Reagan’s executive assistant during his presidency.

“While I sat in the first meeting of our charter class, I thought of a scene from a movie where the dean addresses the freshmen class and asks that each person look at his classmate to his right and then to his left and then says that one of you won’t be there at graduation,” Fischer said. “But then I thought that made no sense. Why would you weed out a third of the class and forego the graduate school tuition and fees?”

Though he was committed to a law school education, Fischer’s passion was politics.

“Politics encroached on my studies and I took long weekend trips to California to assist my congressman in a difficult re-election effort,” Fischer said. “During my last semester of law school and with Dean Lee’s permission, I flew to New Hampshire to work on Governor Reagan’s 1976 race for the presidency. After returning to school for a while, I went to North Carolina for that primary election.”

Law school only magnified Fisher’s political passion, which he eventually pursued as a career.

“After graduation, I assisted Orrin Hatch in his successful bid to unseat Senator Moss,” he said. “I worked on his staff for a short while until I was appointed executive assistant to former Governor Reagan. … I became a member of Reagan’s inner circle that laid the groundwork for the 1980 presidential campaign. Governor Reagan and I traveled to all 50 states and overseas by the time he was elected president. As special assistant to the president, my office was adjacent to the Oval Office and for the next four years, I was by his side whether we were in the White House, Camp David or at his California ranch.”

Fischer said his experiences as special assistant to the president “were magnificent experiences,” but said after four years in the White House, it was time to pursue his own professional career.

Fischer eventually made the transition from politics to business. In 1985, he became senior vice president and chief administrative officer of the Huntsman Chemical Corporation.

Fischer said his BYU law education was a springboard into the success he has experienced in both the political and business worlds.

“I am so very proud to have been a member of BYU’s charter class,” Fischer said. “My classmates are men and women of the highest moral and ethical standards, who have served with distinction and honor in the legal profession, the courts, the (LDS) Church, academia, government service, industry,and in communities across the country. … My legal education provided the forum to develop skills, abilities and a way of thinking that greatly enhanced my professional endeavors and successes.”

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