Observing the Night Life

April 12, 2019

Christine Fisher riding a horse

NIGHTLIFE These days, when Christine Bay Fisher, C’73, is not traveling, she spends her days at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, where she works for the Urban Wildlife Institute tagging photographs. “We have a network of nighttime motion-activated cameras across the city,” she explains. “I go through hundreds of images every day, identifying the animals that have been photographed during the night, when they are most active.” With training from the Urban Wildlife Institute, she can identify an animal sometimes when the only thing visible are the eyes. Coyotes, house cats, raccoons, even minks are captured on memory cards, and a database of the animals is created. “I grow attached and wonder how the animal families I saw are doing in cold weather.” A native of Florida, Fisher is perfectly at home in the Second City, enjoying her own nightlife. Within a few blocks of her apartment are several music venues, and she is often at the shows, hearing blues, jazz, classical, and rock. She also loves to travel and over the past few years has been to Peru, Ireland, Argentina, and Ecuador.

Recently, Fisher became a member of the Charlotte Manigault Society when she documented her intention of making a significant estate gift. For now, the purpose of the gift is unrestricted, but she intends to connect her commitment to that of the class project for the 50th reunion gift in 2023.

“When I was thinking about which organizations would be the beneficiary of my estate, I wanted strong beneficiaries that would be around a while—so my gift would have a lasting effect,” says Fisher. “Terri [Griggs] Williams [C’81], associate vice president for advancement, visited me and gave me a new understanding of the great things that were happening at Sewanee, from civic engagement to internship opportunities. That really raised my understanding of Sewanee and my interest in making an estate commitment.”

Fisher was also motivated by the excellent education she received at Sewanee, which first led her to graduate school in English at the University of Florida, and then to a legal career in the high-powered environment of Chicago. “When I was a graduate student at the University of Florida, teaching freshman composition, I was struck by the difference between my students’ opportunity and the opportunity I had studying with such accomplished professors as John Reishman. Sewanee definitely contributed to my career. Because I studied at Sewanee, I absolutely knew how to write. I am happy I have the opportunity to help Sewanee give young people a fantastic education, with the individualized attention a place like Sewanee can provide.”