Randy Risher, a leader in wellness and fitness management, has been named the 60th Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

The former Crossett resident is a 1989 UAM graduate and president of The Risher Companies of Houston, Texas.

Risher was honored during during UAM’s commencement exercises May 13.

Risher worked in corporate wellness and health profession positions until 1994 when he opened his first business as a personal trainer. His most notable client was former President George H.W. Bush. He trained President Bush for five years and former president became a friend and supporter of The Risher Companies which was named a top workplace last year by the Houston Chronicle.

Risher has been a generous supporter of UAM, including funding several UAM Foundation endowments and donating fitness equipment for the campus wellness center and athletic facilities.

UAM has proudly recognized Risher’s dedication over the years. He and his wife, Neela, have their names included on the UAM Centennial Clock Tower for their contribution to a campaign that raised $1 million for the UAM Foundation Fund. In 2011, Risher received the UAM Alumni Award for Achievement and Merit, and in 2013, the new campus health building was named the Randy S. Risher Wellness Center.

Risher credits UAM’s supportive faculty and staff, especially Dr. Boyce Davis, for guiding his academic career.

“Dr. Boyce Davis was the most influential in my life at UAM,” Risher said. “I came to Dr. Davis before my senior year and decided that I did not want to teach, which was the route I was taking.”

Risher said he asked Davis, “What can I do?”

He said, “Randy, you may not believe me now but you’ll thank me 20 years from now. Wellness leadership is the future and you would do great in that field.”