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President Fry’s Second and Third Town Halls Highlight the Importance of Communication

April 08 2016

President John A. Fry presents his strategic plan at the Queen Lane Campus

President John A. Fry presents his strategic plan at the Queen Lane campus.

President John A. Fry visited the Center City Campus Wednesday and the Queen Lane Campus Thursday for more spring town hall meetings. In addition to the University’s achievements in the past year and the strategic plan for Drexel’s future, Fry discussed concerns relevant to the colleges and schools that will not be next door to Schuylkill Yards.

Communication among the campuses and colleges came up several times during the town halls. Fry praised successes that could have only happened through intercollege communication, such as the University becoming a key leader in Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), the new Department of Defense-supported National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. He was also open to suggestions on how communication across Drexel could improve.

The audiences for these town halls were largely made up of faculty and staff from the College of Medicine and College of Nursing and Health Professions, which meant that much of the Q&A sessions was spent addressing Drexel’s relationship with Tenet Healthcare.

Fry was unable to comment in detail on the ongoing discussions with Tenet, beyond Tenet’s official statement that the company is re-evaluating its position in Philadelphia. But he was optimistic on the way the discussion will pan out and spoke highly of the Tenet representatives with whom he is working.

“I can see a path to something better,” Fry said.

Many questions revolved around the possibility of moving operations from Center City or Queen Lane to University City, perhaps to the Schuylkill Yards development. Fry said that while space in Schuylkill Yards has been set aside for University use, no decisions about “what goes where” have been made.

“Right now, what I would love to see is more connection between Center City and University City. I think that would an ideal scenario,” Fry said in response to a question concerning the isolation of the Center City campus. There are no plans to move away from Center City completed because Drexel is invested in the area. “We have the Academy of Natural Sciences, which is right down the street on the Parkway, and we have the new Kline Center for Trial Advocacy that will open in the fall at 1200 Chestnut.”

Fry also complimented Queen Lane’s beautiful public realm on its campus, the spirit of which he hopes to replicate at Drexel Square in the Schuylkill Yards development.

The Queen Lane town hall ended with one final nod to the importance of communication. When asked who will be involved in decisions for future development, Fry didn’t hesitate. Everyone involved in Drexel, no matter which campus they belong to, whether they are faculty or professional staff, has a say in how the University moves forward, he said.

Fry will hold one more town hall on April 28, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Academy of Natural Sciences Auditorium.