Dallas Fed Chief Answers Money Questions for Scholars

Richard Fisther, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, addressed the Metroplex Technology Business Council at a luncheon on campus.

Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told 220 business leaders visiting campus that he was confident in the state’s recovery as well as the University’s quest to become a national research university.

“As far as I’m concerned, UT Dallas is already a Tier One university,” he said during the Metroplex Technology Business Council luncheon on Sept. 28.

After his keynote speech and a brief session with national media, the internationally known banking guru met with about two dozen of the University’s McDermott Scholars. Ann Worthy, an alumna of the Naveen Jindal School of Management and a senior vice president with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, attended the event with him.

The scholars, who represent some of the University’s most accomplished students, had watched Fisher’s speech via live streaming video at McDermott Library and were ready with questions of their own.

Nikhil Karnik, a computer science sophomore from Flower Mound, asked Fisher to clarify how Tier One institutions can benefit K-12 educational systems in the area. Fisher said corporations often cluster around research universities, which raises the employment and economic level in a region.

Richard Fisher speaking with McDermott Scholars

After his speech, Fisher met with McDermott Scholars to answer their questions. McDermott Scholar Russell Hannigan is pictured at right.

“You get a little bit of pull with great research universities. And when parents are employed at any level, they tend to be more involved in their children’s education,” he said. “We are underpopulated in Texas with just three research universities: Rice, UT and A&M. That’s why it’s important to have UT Dallas become a Tier One university.”

Anita Chandrahas, a biomedical engineering sophomore from Plano, was curious how the rest of the nation views Texas’ record of job growth. During his speech, Fisher had said that people from Michigan, New York and California are migrating to Texas because the Lone Star State has a pro-business environment and lacks a state income tax.

Richard Fisher poses with McDermott Scholars and JSOM students Siddharth Nivas and Zoe Wilson, and JSOM alumnus Ann Worthy.

Fisher and Ann Worthy, right, posed with McDermott Scholars Siddharth Nivas and Zoe Wilson. Worthy is an alumna of the Naveen Jindal School of Managment and a senior vice president with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

“Whatever we’re doing, we’re doing it right,” Fisher said. “People don’t come here to see beautiful oceans and mountains. So why are people leaving California? Because they can find jobs.”

Cynthia Liang, a freshman from Houston with an undeclared major, wanted to know whether outsourcing jobs would hold back U.S. job growth.

“The best way to avoid that is to make sure you have a workforce that can do those jobs,” Fisher told her. “The reality of globalization is that you have to prepare the workforce to compete. 

“During the Cold War, we used to have ‘mutually assured destruction.’ Now we have mutually assured competition. It just means we have to run faster. I’m not afraid of competition. We’ll outperform if we’re given a chance and given the incentives.”

Raheel Ata, a chemistry sophomore from Frisco, asked about the viability of the Social Security system, and whether the U.S. national debt can be alleviated if we try to maintain the benefit program. Fisher didn’t pull any punches.

Cynthia Liang, Jacob Van Nattan, Emily Niewiarowski and Suhrud Kulkarni.

From left: McDermott Scholars Cynthia Liang, Jacob VanNattan, Emily Niewiarowski and Suhrud Kulkarni.

“I haven’t heard any proposals to take anything away. That said, there’s no reason why someone like me should get three times what I paid into it,” Fisher said. “You’re right that my generation has stolen from yours. Social Security is underfunded. There is no trust fund because we have a decreasing group supporting the system and an increasing number who need it. The economics don’t support it.

“I’m glad you asked that question. And I know I didn’t give you any comfort at all. This is why you should be politically active, to tell legislators they need to protect your interests.”

Matthew Krenik, an engineering sophomore from Garland, lamented the U.S. immigration policy, saying that some of his international friends can’t get jobs in the United States after graduation and have to return to their own countries.

“We need to be more thoughtful on our immigration policy,” Fisher agreed. “If you’re getting the best and the brightest, you ought to keep them. When they do well at school and want to share their talent, we ought to let them stay.

“My parents were immigrants. They came because this was the land of opportunity; they had nothing. I’m a first-generation American, and I think I’ve done pretty well. I think others should have that opportunity.”

About McDermott Scholars

The McDermott Scholars Program was created by a $32 million gift from Margaret McDermott, wife of the late Eugene McDermott, who was one of the co-founders of Texas Instruments and The University of Texas at Dallas.

  • For the selected students, educational expenses are covered and they receive stipends for books, living expenses and travel. Scholars participate in a wide variety of cultural and educational enrichment experiences in Dallas and beyond.
  • This year’s 24 freshmen McDermott Scholars were chosen from among more than 1,000 interested students from across the country. Twenty-one received recognition in the National Merit Scholar Program.


Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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