February 22, 2023

 Q&A with Cardinal Sweethearts John and Joy Fisher 

Welcome to the first edition of our Alumni Highlight- From Classmates to Couple: Cardinal Sweethearts! In this introductory edition we will feature Dr. John and Joy Fisher of the Class of 1967. 

John and Joy Fisher currently reside in Marblehead, Massachusetts where John has had a private family dental practice in Salem, Massachusetts since 1974. Last year he joined the Catholic University of America as a Board of Visitors member for the School of Arts and Sciences. Currently, John serves in an advisory capacity on the Oral Health Committee of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and he is the immediate past president of the Better Oral Health Coalition of Massachusetts. He is a past president of the Massachusetts Dental Society. Dr. Fisher served two years active duty in the U.S. Army and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves.

Joy graduated with honors from the Catholic University of America in 1967 and began working as a marketing research analyst. In 1973, she received a master's degree from Temple University while teaching mathematics and science in Philadelphia. Joy has been active in many community organizations including North Shore Catholic Charities, Red Cross swimming, Girl Scouts, North Shore Medical Center, and a Corporate member of MGH Brigham.


How did you meet?

John: “Well, I had seen Joy around and tried to talk to her. I had never been successful. One day, she was walking down the path over by the shrine. She was with Nancy Moran, whom I knew, and I went over and said hello to Nancy. I then told her, ‘I don’t think I’ve met your friend.’ She introduced me to Joy. I was with another fellow, Chuckie Freedman, and I invited them to go over to the shrine with us and have a cup of coffee. We had coffee." (Turns to Joy) "Didn’t I ask you out that evening? "(She nods)

Joy: “Yes, you did."

Joy: “He was very persistent.”

John:  ‘I was pretty persistent. I think I fell in love with her before I met her. We went out that semester and I continued to stay in touch with her that summer. Then when she came back to school we pretty much dated seriously from then on.”


How many years have you been together?

John: “We met our sophomore year, second semester of our sophomore year. Basically, 58 years. We’ve been married for 55. "



Do you have any children?

John: “We have two qonderful daughters, Christine Regina and Heather Marie."

How did you choose CUA?

Joy: “I wanted to go to school in Washington and I looked at all the universities down there. I liked Catholic University the best.”

John:  “I was recruited for swimming. I was at a national Catholic swimming event at Villanova and the swim coach from Catholic University Jack Gardner came up and asked me what my plans were for college. I said what do you have in mind, and he suggested that I come and see Catholic University. So, I went down there with my father and spent the day. I was born in Washington, D.C. My parents would go down to Washington at least once a year and take us along as kids. So, I liked the idea of going to school there. I was offered a swimming scholarship so that certainly was a good motivator.”


What were your majors?

Joy: “Mine was Economics.”

John: “I graduated as a Psychology major. I started out in Biology but changed to Psychology. I changed to Psychology because I was thinking of dropping out of school my sophomore year. Dr. Kinnane, who was in the counseling center, helped me get through some rough times during my second semester of school that year. I so much appreciated his help, that I thought, ‘This is someone I’d like to be like,’ so I changed my major to Psychology but ended up going to dental school after college."


Were there any moments at CUA that were particularly memorable? A class, an event, etc...?

Joy: “We only took one class together and he bothered me a lot in that class. I was more studious than him.”

John: “It was an 8 o’clock class so I would miss it occasionally. I relied on her to give me her notes. I look back, I wasn’t much of a student in college. My freshman year I really wasn’t interested in being in college. If it hadn’t been for the swimming team, I’m not sure I would’ve stayed in school. We had won the Mason-Dixon championships when I was a freshman and we won it again when I was a sophomore. My second semester of my sophomore year was a lot easier after I dropped two courses, plus I had Joy who stood behind me and believed in me and encouraged me to stay in school. She encouraged me to study. Probably encouraged me to make something of myself. I’m always very thankful that I met Joy and the part that she has played in my life and continues to play in my life. So as far as sweethearts, we were sweethearts, we are still sweethearts. “


Were you part of any clubs or leadership roles on campus?

John: “I was president of my Senior class. I learned some leadership skills there and it was a great opportunity. I didn’t expect to get elected but I was elected. It put me in a position where I had to perform and I think that helped me. Joy was my campaign manager.”


Joy: “I was actively campaigning for him. I was in a sorority.”

John: “I was in Phi Kappa Theta.”


Joy: “I was in Kappa Beta Gamma”


John: “The sororities and the fraternities gave you a smaller group, core group, that you got to know and do things with. “

Joy: “Sororities and Fraternities weren’t just the stereotypical party animal types. In KBG, we had projects where we would raise money or do different drives for different charities.”

John: “It helped to develop a social conscience. It was a good experience and I think a key part of our life at Catholic University. Our years at Catholic University were tumultuous times in the United States. John Kennedy was assassinated our freshman year and our Senior Class rallied with the faculty and the rest of the school to support Father Charles Curran when he was initially denied his appointment as Professor."


Were there any spots on campus or in D.C. that you would frequently go to?

Joy: “Things were a little bit different then.  Most of the social life, at the point we were in school, were through the sororities and fraternities. You know, planned dances and events.”

John: “They had a lot of things, They had homecoming. They had sophomore cotillion, junior cotillion and a dance called 'Joe Sent Me'.”

Joy: “We had a prom. The senior class ran serval dances on Saturday evenings.”


John: “There were a lot of organized activities. I don’t know if they still do it, but back then we even had fraternities, sororities and other groups that would build floats for homecoming.”


Joy: “It started, beginning with freshman year, there would be a show sponsored by the sophomore class. We had an outstanding theater department and I think the theater majors had a lot to do with that. There was a lot of bonding going on in the campus itself. Mostly, if your parents came to visit you would go out to dinner or visit some of the many historic sites in D.C.“

John: “We used to visit a local bar. It was called Haps."

Joy: “ I don’t even know if that exists anymore.”

John: “It was a little bar over in Brookland. We used to go to Haps for a few beers. There was a movie theater over there, we’d go to the movies there. They had a lot of foreign movies. We used to go to a lot of foreign movies. And there was always the Hot Shoppes and the Holiday Inn."

Joy: “The other thing at the time, we weren’t worried about terrorism or anything like that. You could go down and actually sit on Lincoln’s lap at the Lincoln Memorial. The White House wasn’t barricaded. Many of the government embassies, you could go to parties there. That was fun.”


Are you anticipating a return to campus in the near future?

John: “We are looking ahead to April (Founder's Day Weekend) and we are planning to spend some time in D.C. then.”



 Are you cardinal sweethearts or know a couple that you think should be featured? Let us know here!