Hillel Leader and Harvard Alumnus Passes at 24
By BRANDON J. DIXON, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER June 16, 2016
UPDATED: Thursday, June 16, at 9:29 a.m.
Rich cigar smoke, quaint fishing trips, and a love of strong scotch are
trademarks of Samuel M. Fisher ’15 that friends and family members
fondly remember. Fisher—former president of Hillel and Goldman Sachs
analyst—passed away last weekend of an unexpected heart complication
after he completed a triathlon race in Stamford, Conn. He was 24.
Known as a vivacious person, an inspirational leader and a
family-oriented brother, Fisher was naturally kind and welcoming.
“Every now and then, when you take a step back, you realize that he
never stopped—he really was always doing things for those around him,”
Jacob R. Drucker ’15, a former Crimson editorial editor and classmate of
Fisher’s, wrote in an email. “I think the prevailing sentiment has
always been that things were just better when Sammy Fisher’s around. He
didn’t give you a choice—he just made things better.”
Samuel M. Fisher '15
David F. Sackstein ’14, one of Fisher’s closest friends and mentors at
the College, and his “big brother” in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity,
said that he remembers frequenting the iHop on Eliot street late at
night, where the two would buy meals for homeless people and those who
they thought needed a friend.
Fisher’s friends from Hillel remember him vividly as one of the first
people they encountered on campus. Edyt J. Dickstein ’17, current
president of Hillel, said when she was a freshman, she couldn’t help but
comment on the “smile lines” that nature to Fisher’s face. She said his
welcoming presence drew her to the organization and inspired her to take
an active leadership role.
“Sam was in many ways the first friendly face at Hillel,” Dickstein
said. “A lot of what I’ve tried to do since then was follow in his
According to Getzel Davis, a rabbi at Hillel, many current and former
members of Hillel came to the organization because of Fisher’s
effervescent presence and personal outreach efforts.
“He bridged a lot of gaps between the Hillel community as someone who
could be involved with the different groups within the organization, and
I think that’s a part of his legacy,” Elena F. Hoffenberg ’16 said.
During his time at the College, Fisher not only worked tirelessly at
Hillel, but practiced music in a self-titled jazz band comprised of
himself and whatever friends he could find for an event. Though the band
members might have been fluid, the venue often was not: Hillel served
largely as the stage for Fisher’s public performances. Fisher, though a
classically trained pianist and cellist, often played an acoustic bass
guitar at these performances.
Fisher’s friends remember his humor — “corny,” at times, Drucker said,
but charming nonetheless. Though funny, Fisher’s older brother Jonathan
M. Fisher, a student at Harvard Medical School, stressed that Samuel
held a gravitas and wisdom beyond his years.
“I felt like even though I was the older brother by a year and a few
months, he always felt like the older brother to me, because I felt like
I was always learning things from him,” Jonathan Fisher said.
At his core, Fisher was a family man. Nearly every summer, Fisher and
his three brothers and father congregated at Nickerson State Park in
Cape Cod, Mass. for a camping trip.
“The fishing was so important,” Jonathan Fisher said. “That was like a
big part of—sort of the meat with my relationship with Samuel. ”
Fisher’s family-oriented mindset was a large factor in his decision to
attend Harvard, even though the choice was difficult because his older
brother attended Yale.
“He was this close to going to Yale just because I was there, because
our relationship meant so much to him,” Jonathan Fisher said. “I think,
actually, the main reason why he ended up coming here [Harvard] was
because it was close to home, it was close to the rest of the family,
and it really didn’t make sense to go to Connecticut when the rest of
the family was right here.”
While family was important to Fisher’s identity, his Jewish heritage was
just as an integral to him. Before attending Harvard, Fisher took a gap
year at Yeshivat Orayta, a seminary in Jerusalem to study Jewish texts
and Jewish law.
At the helm of Hillel, Fisher tried his best to draw in Jewish students
from different heritages.
“I think over the years in this community, he really started to relate
really well to the diversity that exists here in this community,”
Sackstein said. “He sort of dedicated himself at the point to making
sure that even if people identified Jewishly in different ways, that he
would be part of giving them opportunities to relate to that identity.”
After Harvard, Fisher was accomplished. In the span of the past few
weeks, Fisher closed his first transaction at Goldman Sachs, according
to colleague and classmate Robert C. Kivell ’15.
“He was a model co-worker, and was ranked at the top of our Analyst
class,” Kivell wrote of Fisher. “Sam’s lion-sized personality and heart
made him a favorite of everyone in the office.”
Fisher’s supervisor, Gregory P. Lee ’90, said that Fisher’s personality
and compassion for his colleagues made him stand out from other new
“He was an incredibly useful, valuable, and creative member of the
team,” Lee said. “And maybe more important than that—because everyone
who graduates from Harvard, and everyone who works at Goldman Sachs is
going to be at a certain high caliber—but what I think really
differentiated Sam is how great of a human being he was.”
Fisher’s final weekend was spent competing alongside colleagues from
Goldman Sachs at a charity triathlon in Stamford, Conn. The charity that
hosted the event—Kids in Crisis—serves kids hailing from backgrounds of
Fisher, who was initially slated to only compete in the swim leg of the
race, decided to run as well after a colleague of his expressed anxiety
about completing the race alone, Lee said. He collapsed shortly after
crossing the finish line.
The Harvard Hillel Society is accepting donations in Fisher’s honor
through the giving page on the society’s website.
–Staff writer Brandon J. Dixon can be reached at email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter @BrandonJoDixon.
CORRECTION: June 16, 2016
A previous version of the article incorrectly stated that the fraternity
to which Samuel Fisher belonged was Alpha Phi Epsilon. In fact, the name
of the fraternity is Alpha Epsilon Pi.
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Goldman Sachs analyst dies after triathalon
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Goldman analyst dies after participating in triathlon
Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 | 9:11 AM ET | 00:32
A 24-year-old Goldman Sachs investment banking analyst who recently
graduated from Harvard died after competing in a Connecticut triathlon,
the Stamford Advocate reported.
Samuel Fisher collapsed after receiving his participation medal Sunday
for the triathlon in Stamford, Lt. Diedrich Hohn told the newspaper.
Medics were unable to revive him
Fisher participated with co-workers in the triathlon to benefit a
nonprofit called Kids in Crisis and promote team building within their
downtown New York office, the newspaper said.
He swam nine-tenths of a mile before taking a 90-minute rest while his
teammates competed in the bike race, then ran the 3.2-mile foot race,
the newspaper said.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague Samuel Fisher and
extend our deepest sympathies to Sam's family, friends and colleagues,"
Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally told the newspaper.
Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause of
death, Hohn told the newspaper.
Read Stamford Advocate's full report
Special to CNBC.com