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Drexel to Celebrate Inauguration of John A Fry the Universitys 14th President

April 12, 2011

The inauguration of John A. Fry, Drexel University’s 14th president, will be held on April 14 and 15. Fry, former president of Franklin & Marshall College, began his tenure at Drexel on August 1, 2010.

“John appreciates the unique culture of our institution, and his vision and drive will help maintain Drexel’s upward trajectory and move us into the top tier of comprehensive research universities,” said Richard A. Greenawalt, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The inaugural activities will include a keynote address from Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation and former president of the University of Pennsylvania; more than 65 exhibits, shows, live demonstrations and live performances from across the University highlighting Drexel’s cutting-edge research, clinical care, artistic endeavors, campus programs and academic innovations;  symposiums on autism and “Drexel’s impact on 21st century priorities” in urban planning; a concert with harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, principal harpist emeritus with the Boston Symphony, joined by rising star violinist Tai Murray; and a student festival. The inauguration ceremony on April 15 will feature honored speaker Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. For a complete list of events, visit

As Drexel’s 14th president, Fry oversees a university that has grown significantly in the last decade and is ranked in the top 100 of Best National Universities in “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S.News & World Report. The University also ranks in the top two among national universities in the recently established U.S. News list of “up and coming” schools.  In a recent Times Higher Education ranking Drexel ranked among the top 200 universities in the world and 76th among the top universities in North America.
A comprehensive national research university, Drexel includes a medical school, nursing college and school of public health. In 2006, Drexel opened the Earle Mack School of Law and in January 2009, the University opened the Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento, California.

In his first major address to the Drexel community at Convocation in October, Fry made a new commitment to Drexel’s surrounding neighborhoods to improve the public environment and the lives of residents by exploring opportunities for better housing, public education, retail and cultural amenities.  This commitment is part of a larger aspiration for Drexel to become the most civically engaged university in the country across all three dimensions of engagement: academic; student and employee volunteerism; and institutionally supported neighborhood investment.

During his tenure as president of Franklin & Marshall College from July 2002 to July 2010, Fry was instrumental in the college’s academic growth, campus development and improved finances. Through his initiatives, he raised the College’s national profile and brought a renewed confidence to the institution. Fry forged new partnerships with the city and neighbors, improving the surrounding business economic district and neighborhoods.

As executive vice president and chief operating officer of the University of Pennsylvania prior to joining F&M, Fry was a major force in developing and implementing Penn’s “Agenda for Excellence,” a comprehensive plan that guided Penn’s strategic initiatives from 1996 to 2001. He was also instrumental in transforming Penn’s campus and its surrounding neighborhood.

Fry has served in higher education since early in his professional life. He worked closely with some of the nation’s premier colleges and universities, first with KPMG Peat Marwick in its educational consulting practice, and then with Coopers & Lybrand’s National Higher Education Consulting Practice, where he was elected a partner in the firm and rose through the ranks to become partner-in-charge of the national higher education practice.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Fry studied American Civilization at Lafayette College and received the George Wharton Pepper Prize, the highest honor awarded to a graduating senior. He was awarded an honorary degree by Lafayette College in 2008. In 1986, he earned a master’s in business administration from the New York University Stern School of Business.

Fry is married to Cara Keegan Fry, an art historian, and they have three children: Mia, Nathaniel and Phoebe.

For more information on the inauguration of Fry, visit

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Niki Gianakaris