There is no better way to see Bills' training camp than in a golf cart named "Cardinal One" with Fisher President Dr. Donald Bain. He looks forward to camp every summer. Back in 2000, Bain was Provost and worked closely with then Fisher President Katherine Keough to create a new summer home for the Bills. The past 10 years as President, he's nurtured the relationship to the benefit of both. Dr. Bain believes there is a correlation between Bills Camp coming to campus and the tremendous growth that has taken place at Fisher. "Just the association itself has enhanced the image. the prestige, the attractiveness and frankly the media exposure to the college and what we have to offer, and we're very proud of what we do here."
Under Bain's leadership, the Fisher's endowment has also grown from $29.5 million in 2004 to almost $70 million today. Enrollment has increased nearly 46% since the Bills arrived on campus in 2000, and the college has spent more than $90 million on capital projects. That includes new academic buildings, education programs, sports facilities, and athletic opportunities for students; who also work closely with the NFL team. Bain says "We thought of the opportunities we'd have for our students to do internships, maybe have jobs in the summer, and that's certainly over the last 15 seasons exactly what's happened."
Bain says it's not a one way street. While Fisher's contract with the Bills is confidential, we know late owner Ralph Wilson has given millions of dollars in gifts the school. "The Buffalo Bills organization is a very, very fair, just and generous partner."
As far as the Bills role in his legacy at St. John Fisher? Bain says he doesn't think about it - and as an historian, it's too early to tell. "I'd give the credit far more to the people at Fisher, and the Bills who have worked so well together to make the partnership a success."
What he would like to see is this football season end in another Super Bowl. He may be retiring as Fisher president, but he'll always be a Buffalo Bills fan!
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