It was 1977 the last time our class valedictorian Laura Fisher spoke to us as a group. Now, 46 years later, we happily hear from her again:

Since we graduated before personal computers and because I haven’t been able to find my handwritten notes, I only have vague memories of my valedictory speech on that hot, June day.  I remember opening with a C.S. Lewis Carroll narrative poem called The Walrus and the Carpenter: “The time has come… to talk of many things; of shoes and ships and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings”. I then transitioned to more traditional and motivational words of advice.  I advocated for recognizing and taking on life’s challenges, refusing to fear failure, exploring apparent as well as hidden opportunities, seeking to do one’s best, and always trying to do the right thing – even if that went against popular thought or practice.  I also stressed that we should strive to choose our “best” life path, but that there usually isn’t only one “right” path. I also wrote that honesty, kindness and fairness would always serve as a good compass for our beliefs and actions. I concluded that after graduating from high school, we would no longer be on the receiving end of being taught and advised by our teachers and our parents. We would now have to take initiative in terms of our studies, our day-to-day living, our assumption of leadership positions, and our commitment to community service and good deeds.

That was 1977. After graduating LHS, I spent three undergraduate years at Brown University in Providence. I double majored in Biology and Bioethics. I spent an amazing semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then backpacked through Europe before starting medical school at Brown. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but med school was actually fun. I came to love Providence and Rhode Island’s New England character, and it was only a short drive up to Boston.

Coming from Livingston, I always wanted to try living in NYC. I enjoyed my internal medicine residency at Cornell’s New York Hospital. I wanted ultimately to return to the New York area but did my fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  I then returned to NYC in 1989 to be chief resident in medicine at Cornell’s teaching hospital and never left. I started as a full-time clinician and teacher, but eventually opened my open private practice in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. The chairman of Medicine at Cornell basically told me that I would be the hospital’s Lyme disease expert, and that remains one of my fields of expertise to this day.

I have three amazing daughters in their 20’s. All three attended Brown – probably because they knew that I loved my experiences there. I think they were first smitten when they attended my college and medical school reunions.  It didn’t hurt that Brown’s campus was beautiful and that it was a very popular school with the reputation of having nice, bright and well-rounded students. Presently, Micaela is getting her doctoral degree in Psychology and lives in NYC. Jesse is applying for jobs in consulting in NYC. Gabriella has been doing research at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC and is currently applying to medical school.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed with the chance to travel. I’ve probably been to Israel twenty times.  I’ve been to Alaska, throughout much of the U.S., throughout Great Britain, to Russia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, the former Czechoslovakia and Hungary. I’ve given medical lectures in Paraguay and Costa Rica. Perhaps the most rewarding trip was when I gave the Infectious Disease course for a weeklong medical conference in Salzburg that was given by Cornell Medical School. I was able to bring my parents along since my dad was a physician and my mother was a biophysicist interested in the material.

These days, I still work full time in my private practice on the Upper East Side. I’ve been very busy during the COVID epidemic and have consulted with many physicians and institutions. I’ve helped develop protocols regarding testing, prevention and treatment.  I love what I do, and I don’t yet have retirement plans.

For fun, in addition to traveling, I enjoy the theater, art museums and galleries, concerts, exploring the city, long walks through Central Park and going to the gym. I am very involved with my synagogue and with Israel advocacy. I am also lucky to have a large family.  All seven siblings became physicians, and we remain very close. Our father is well at 97 years of age and lives in the same house we grew up in on Northfield Road. My brother Eddie is a cardiologist in NYC and he and I always visit our dad on the weekends. Although Eddie usually goes on Saturdays and I usually go on Sundays, we have visited together recently and had a great brunch at the Ritz (formerly the Heritage Diner back in our day). Some things never change…