John A. Fry was president of Franklin & Marshall College from July 2002 through June 2010. He is currently president of Drexel University in Philadelphia.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, he 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.
During his early professional life, Fry 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 eventually attained the rank of partner-in-charge of the national practice.
In 1995, he became the executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania. As chief operating officer of the university, he was responsible for finance, investments, human resources, facilities and real estate, public safety, computing, technology transfer, research administration, corporate relations, auxiliary enterprises and internal audit and compliance. He also served as the university’s liaison to the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
At Penn, Fry helped develop and implement the university's "Agenda for Excellence," a comprehensive plan that guided the university's strategic initiatives from 1996 to 2001. One of the strategies that emerged from this plan was the development of Penn's nationally recognized neighborhood revitalization initiative for West Philadelphia. Faced with significant crime rates, deteriorating housing stock, and a lack of commercial amenities, Fry built a coalition of non-profit, business, neighborhood and governmental support for a multi-pronged strategy to address the key challenges facing the neighborhoods. In a comparatively short period of time, residential property values have gone up significantly, the crime rate has been dramatically reduced, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in commercial infrastructure and economic development.
President Fry recently finished his second term as chair of the NCAA Division III Presidents Council and stepped down after six years of service on the Council. He also served for three years on the Executive Committee of the NCAA. He was appointed by President George Bush to serve on the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission that planned the celebration of Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birthday. Fry also served as one of the co-chairs for the transition team of Governor-Elect Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania.
His civic activities include membership on the boards of the Haverford School, Lancaster General Hospital, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Lancaster Country Day School, where he was recently elected as the President of the Board of Trustees. He is also a Director of Community Health Systems, Delaware Investments, and Ecore International.
Fry is married and he and his wife, Cara, have three children: Mia, Nathaniel and Phoebe.