(‘71 BA, ‘72 MA, ‘08 Honorary Doctorate)
Addison M. Fischer has been a computer entrepreneur since creating his first high-tech start-up company in 1973, and has been involved in seed venture capital investing since the early 1980s.
In 1980, he was a principal founder of the Community School of Naples (FL), an independent K-12 school.
Mr. Fischer founded Fischer International Systems Corporation, a communications software provider to the Global 2000 and presently serves as its Chairman. As major owner of RSA Data Security, he founded VeriSign, the internationally recognized standard of Internet commerce integrity.
Mr. Fischer is co-owner, with Mr. Stanley Druckenmiller, of Duquesne Capital Management. He is co-founder of two small private Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Tierra del Oro and Camino del Oro, specializing in high-tech startup companies.
During the 80’s and 90’s he was a member of official committees that set U.S. standards for computer security and electronic commerce. He has addressed the U.S. Congress, by invitation, on several topics, including digital signature standards, proposed FBI digital telephony legislation, and global U.S. competitiveness. From 1995 through 1999 Mr. Fischer was a member of the Computer Systems Security and Privacy Advisory Board established by the Computer Security Act of 1987 to advise the President and report to Congress on issues regarding United States computer security. This committee, since renamed the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, is involved in work ranging from privacy issues to aspects of cyber-warfare. Addison holds numerous U.S. and international patents and is a lifetime member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He holds Mathematics degrees, as well as an honorary Doctorate, from West Virginia University.
In addition to his business interests, he is actively involved in preserving, for future generations, our environment, resources, health, and freedom. Addison works to promote civil liberties and privacy; advocates wilderness protection; and strives to preserve the integrity of the U.S. and world food supply from genetically altered species (the long-term effects of which are unknown). He also works with numerous organizations to reduce climate change.
In 2000, working together with the Zenerji Fund, Mr. Fischer acquired a substantial amount of sensitive primeval Costa Rican rainforest to prevent its destruction by timber and farming interests. Part of this acquisition included the community of Las Alturas. He is presently involved in working to enhance the opportunities available to the people of Las Alturas while preserving their heritage and connection with nature. He is engaged in bringing together experts, researchers and innovators from various scientific, social, spiritual and engineering disciplines toward the goal of building a prototype community capable of operating perpetually in harmony with the surrounding virgin rainforest.
From 2003 through 2005 Mr. Fischer was a member of the board of the Amazon Conservation Team, a private non-profit organization that works in concert with indigenous South American tribes to protect their ancestral lands. He presently serves as a member of the Advisory Board.
In 2005, Mr. Fischer began supporting and working closely with Dr. Jane Goodall, and her worldwide conservation efforts. He presently serves as a board member of the Jane Goodall Institute.
In 2008, Mr. Fischer founded, with Ms. Cindy Mercer, the Planet Heritage Foundation with the mission of preserving the planet’s natural and ecological heritage, and mankind’s cultural, social and intellectual heritage.
In May 2009 Mr. Fischer was elected as a director of the East West Institute, working to resolve and prevent international conflicts through non-governmental diplomatic channels.
In June 2009 he was awarded the Hero of Privacy Award by the Electronic Privacy Information Center recognizing his efforts to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and protecting privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.