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Pioneer Alaska City Planner Selected For Top Honor

Washington, D.C. – The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) inducted city planner Victor Fischer, FAICP, of Anchorage into the elite membership of AICP’s College of Fellows at a recent black-tie ceremony held in conjunction with the American Planning Association’s (APA) 2010 National Planning Conference in New Orleans.

“The AICP College of Fellows recognizes individuals who've made exceptional contributions to the planning profession,” said AICP President Paul Inghram, AICP.  “The Fellows have devoted their careers to excellence in planning and they set the highest standards for professional planners today,” he added. AICP is the professional institute of APA.

Election to the Fellowship may be granted to planners who have been longtime members of AICP and have demonstrated excellence whether in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research or community service and leadership. Altogether 37 planners from 22 states were inducted into the AICP College of Fellows at the April 10 ceremony, which was held at Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans.  

All planners who have been certified by AICP use the letters “AICP” after their name.  Fellows, however, are designated with the letters “FAICP.”  Currently, there are about 16,000 practicing urban and rural planners in North America and elsewhere with AICP certification.  Of those, approximately 400 are Fellows.

Fischer is recognized by the AICP College of Fellows for his community service and leadership accomplishments. He has had a profound and lasting impact on virtually every aspect of planning in Alaska starting with being the federal government’s first town planner in the Territory in 1950-1951 and one of the youngest delegates to the Alaska statehood constitutional convention in 1955-1956. Fischer also served on the Alaska territorial legislature and later on the state senate. He was a director of the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research and the university’s Office of Russian Affairs.

Following the 1964 earthquake, he was named Alaska Earthquake Reconstruction Coordinator for the U.S. Housing and Home Finance Agency (forerunner of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). In that position he convinced skeptical federal officials that urban renewal was the most effective tool for rebuilding communities destroyed by the earthquake, helped secure federal appropriations, and worked to get renewal projects underway in a fraction of the time normally required.

“All of us in Alaska who are in planning practice today owe a great debt to Victor Fischer,” wrote colleague Laurie Cummings, AICP, in his Fellows’ nomination letter. A planner, humanitarian and statesman, she continued, he “represents in our opinion the epitome of all that our profession stands for.”   

Fischer received a Master of Public Administration from HarvardUniversity in 1962; a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in engineering and sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1948.

For more than 70 years AICP and its predecessor organization, the American Institute of Planners (AIP), have promoted professional excellence in the field of planning by setting high standards for competence, education, experience and ethical conduct, and by articulating the future of the planning profession. Fischer has been a member of AIP and AICP for 60 years. For more information about the AICP College of Fellows visit http://www.planning.org/faicp.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit www.planning.org.

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