Musician turned business professor

Former band member and current business accounting professor, Kirk Fischer, plays the keyboard during a gig in the 1970s in Rockford Ill. Courtesy photo.

Professor of accounting Kirk Fischer loves to teach, and he especially enjoys teaching accounting. He did not realize his love for teaching, however, until later in life after he gave up his first love of music.

While growing up in Rockford, Ill., Fischer dreamed of being a rock  musician. If you saw him today in his clean haircut and business casual clothes, you probably would not believe that he got to live that dream during the ‘60s and into the mid-70s as the keyboard player for the rock band Flagship.

In the ‘60s Fischer listened to bands like The Doors, and his favorite keyboard player of all time was Chester Thompson.

Fischer said, “Ray Manzarek from the Doors was one of my heroes. … It was pointed out to me when I was a kid that I was very good at being a musician, so I naturally headed that way. It became the pursuit of fame and wealth. It was about ego.”

Though he played nearly 10 years, the band never performed on the big stage. Fischer’s decision to get out of music came because he got married and had to support a family.

“One of the reasons I left rock and roll music was drugs. I can say that I was never a participant of the drug culture, but I was a direct witness. It was also very pragmatic. I had a family to feed.”

He chose accounting because he thought it would be practical. He soon came to realize that not only was he good at accounting but also he sincerely enjoyed it.

“I decided to get a bachelor’s degree. From, ‘81 to ‘84, I attended Northern Illinois University. At this point, my children were coming along,” Fischer said. “I gave up music in about 1981. I raised my family and started my business. There were no regrets, and I was content that I had been there and done that.”

Fischer spent 20 years working in the  business world.

He excelled at his job and went to the executive ranks of Professional Datasolutions Inc. Though successful, he was not fully content and began to ponder retirement.

“I had what my wife would call a midlife crisis, but it was more of a reassessment. You start questioning how does this end?” Fischer said.“A retired doctor at my church gave me the book Finishing Well. What was put forth by the author was that we as professionals have accumulated significant skill sets, and we have a responsibility to use that skill set until that skill is used up.”

He had always enjoyed teaching and since he lived in Temple, UMHB appealed to him because it was close and familiar.

He was on the business advisory council and a friend of  the dean of College of Business.

“I came down to UMHB and sat down with Jim King. He convinced me that I need not only a master’s degree but a Ph.D,” he said.

Fischer is delighted to be a professor, and his students appreciate him.

Junior accounting major Audrey Ohendalski said, “He explains things well and adds his personal experience. What I like about him is that he is available.”

After giving up music for 18 years in 1999, he decided to return to his passion.

He joined his church praise band, and music was no longer about the glamor but an avenue of worship. Currently he also plays in a local band called A Touch of Class.

Though he had given up music he never lost his love for it.

Friend, and former music collaborator Richard Thomas said, “Music is his love, but he also works really hard on his doctorate.”

Fischer does not regret giving up the life of a rock and roll musician. He considers his life to have been genuinely blessed and is content.

“It was a two-part story. One was from music to business, which was practically motivated. Go feed your family, and it turned out I liked it. Business to teaching was about finishing well,” Fischer said. “I would have liked to have had a hit record, but I’m not holding out for it.”

Author: Ethan Mitra

Bio info coming soon!

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