Mr. Fisher (forth from the right) with his family on the Leonard J. Fisher Family Balcony in the McDonough Museum of Art.
Leonard Fisher, president and chairman of the board of Handel’s Ice Cream, will be honored at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at Youngstown State University’s McDonough Museum of Art for his $100,000 gift to the museum.
In recognition of the donation, the museum’s main gallery balcony will be named the Leonard J. Fisher Family Balcony.
“We thank Lenny and Handel’s for their continued support of YSU and the entire Mahoning Valley,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “We are particularly thankful for the support of the arts in our community and our wonderful McDonough Museum.”
Phyllis Paul, dean of the YSU Cliffe College of Creative Arts, added: “We are so appreciative of this terrific gift to the McDonough, which has become the unofficial hub for the Cliffe College of Creative Arts. The museum collaborates broadly with students and faculty from across campus as well as with numerous community groups, and this generous donation will benefit all of those constituencies.”
The gift follows a long tradition of Fisher’s philanthropy. He previously donated $1 million to support the expansion of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Mahoning Valley Emergency Department.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Fisher moved to Youngstown in 1975 to open the Yellow Submarine Sub Shop. He ventured into a few other businesses until he met the founder of Handel’s Ice Cream, Alice Handel. They became friends, and in 1985 he purchased the business from her. Since then, the Youngstown staple has grown from one location to 80 locations in eleven states, with plans to add another 40 locations in 2022.
The McDonough serves as YSU’s art museum and is Mahoning Valley’s premier Center for Contemporary Art. Working in tandem with the faculty and students of the Department of Art, the McDonough assists in developing programs and exhibitions that enhance the department’s contemporary and interdisciplinary teaching mission by aligning curation with curriculum to strengthen and deepen the education function of the museum. The museum offers a range of dynamic programs that include exhibitions, installations, performances, and lectures that invite campus and community members to discover and explore meaning in contemporary art.
The ceremony starts at 7:30 PM and will include a performance from the Dana School of Music.