John Anderson Fry

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Drexel President John Fry, taken at the 2014 Senior Toast

John Anderson Fry (born May 28, 1960[1] in Brooklyn, New York City) is the President of Drexel University and the former President of Franklin & Marshall College. He is one of the few people who have been appointed as a President of a large university without a doctorate.

Early life[edit]

John Anderson Fry was born in Brooklyn, New York City, and received an undergraduate degree in American Civilization from Lafayette College.[1] He worked in accounting, during which time he received an MBA degree from the New York University Stern School of Business. He eventually worked in management consulting, specializing in universities.[2]

University of Pennsylvania[edit]

One of Fry’s clients in consulting was the University of Pennsylvania, and when he worked for the university, Judith Rodin, the then President, hired him as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 1995, a position he held until 2002. At the University of Pennsylvania he helped develop the “Agenda for Excellence,” a comprehensive strategic plan covering 1996-2001, and implemented a strategy addressing challenges in University City neighborhood to raise property values, reduce crime and attract commercial infrastructure and economic development.[2] He was instrumental in the gentrification of West Philadelphia.[citation needed]

Franklin & Marshall College[edit]

Fry was the president of Franklin & Marshall College from 2002–2010. During his tenure, the average SAT score of students rose by 63 points over 7 years, the ratio of students to faculty was lowered to 10:1 and the college created a faculty-led, student-governed College House system.[1]

Drexel University[edit]

On March 10, 2010, he was designated as the 14th President of Drexel University to begin on August 1, 2010.[3] He succeeded the interim President C.R. "Chuck" Pennoni, who served since the death of the 13th President Constantine Papadakis.

Fry’s inaugural address set an early agenda featuring three major objectives: to make Drexel “one of academe’s most powerful engines for neighborhood improvement and regional economic growth”; to “mobilize [Drexel’s] entrepreneurial and creative energies to confront major threats to human health, economic prosperity, and the environment”; and to “[maximize] Drexel’s global reputation and impact.”[4]

In 2011, Fry negotiated Drexel's affiliation with America’s oldest natural history museum,[5] The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, creating The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.[6] In 2012, Fry announced the completion of the Drexel strategic plan for 2012-2017, “Transforming the Modern Urban University.”[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Biography". Drexel University. 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b Finder, Alan (March 5, 2008). "A College President Whose Credentials Stress Taking Care of Business". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  3. ^ Johnson, Kelly (March 10, 2010). "Drexel names Fry new president". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  4. ^ "Inauguration Speech". Drexel University. April 14, 2011. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  5. ^ "About Us". Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  6. ^ Van Allen, Peter (May 19, 2011). "Academy of Natural Sciences to become Drexel subsidiary". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  7. ^ "Transforming the Modern University". Drexel University. 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 

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