Dear Trustee,

I’m deeply sorry to inform you that our dear friend and long-time colleague, Drexel Emeritus Trustee John A. Nyheim, HD ’05, has passed away. Our condolences go out to his wife Christel, their children Peter and Thomas, and grandchildren.

John had a career as a highly successful investment management professional, and he was a great colleague and supporter of Drexel. Among the longest-serving members of the Drexel Board of Trustees, John was a trustee for 23 years until joining the emeritus ranks in 2014. During his tenure as the chair of our investment committee, the University’s endowment grew an astonishing 350 percent. John also served as a trustee of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Both John and Christel were generous supporters of Drexel and paved the way for advancements in plasma research when they established the John A. Nyheim Endowed University Chair in 1999. With this support, engineering professor Alexander Fridman, who continues to occupy the chair, founded the A.J. Drexel Plasma Institute. The Institute has enabled faculty and students from across the University to develop and apply plasma-based solutions in areas such as energy, medicine, bioengineering and environmental remediation. It is considered the birthplace of plasma medicine, a field that began with a research collaboration of Drexel scientists, engineers and medical doctors and has expanded to academic institutions around the world. In recognition of their continued support, the Institute was renamed the C. & J.  Nyheim Plasma Institute in 2016.

John and Christel were also generous patrons of the arts in Philadelphia. Drexel honored John with an honorary degree, as well as bestowing the Joseph Jacovini Outstanding Service Award in 2018. I had the pleasure of speaking with John last month and he was very happy with the results of our efforts in plasma medicine and especially with the news that the endowment he helped steward for so many years had crossed the $900M mark.

Please join me in offering deepest condolences to Christel and the entire Nyheim family.


John Fry

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