Fry Joins Fellow Dragons on List of Most Influential Philadelphians

Drexel President John Fry

Drexel University President John Fry and the Center for Hunger-Free Communities program director Michelle Taylor, whose online persona is Feminista Jones, are among the most influential people in Philadelphia, according to Philadelphia magazine’s ranking of the 100 people shaping life in the city.

Fry, the city’s “bullish college prez” in the magazine’s nomenclature, came in fifth on the list for his efforts to make Philadelphia a presence in the 21st-century economy. As the magazine notes, Fry is intent on shaking the city out of its sense of complacency and ensuring it is ready to be at the forefront of changes in industry and society.

The magazine also spotlighted Fry’s role in helping Drexel raise a record-breaking $120.7 million last year. But the best is yet to come for Fry and the University. Schuylkill Yards, the $3.5 billion project that will transform the University City area over the next 20 years, is sure to make Fry an even more important contributor to Philly’s present and future going forward.

Fry wasn’t the only Dragon to appear on the magazine’s list. Taylor was ranked 25th for the outsize influence she wields in the community through her work advocating for social justice. As Feminista Jones, a writer and activist with a massive social media following, she is one of the leading voices in the push to fix poverty and other social ills.

“If we can fix Philly, we can fix the country,” she told the magazine of the effort to eradicate poverty. “The opportunity to innovate and really try to spark something that motivates people is real.”

At Drexel, Taylor is the program manager for Witnesses to Hunger within the Center for Hunger-Free communities. She is a community organizer, a highly sought-after public speaker and a fierce advocate for the poor, women’s rights and people of color.

Nicole Cashman, who received a design and merchandising bachelor’s from Drexel in 1994, also made the list at number 75 for her work as president of public relations firm Cashman & Associates. The magazine dubbed her the city’s “maven of messaging,” and noted her representation of cultural behemoths like Stephen Starr, Brandywine Realty Trust, Friends of Rittenhouse Square and Century 21 Department Stores.