Temple names Drexel’s John Fry as 15th president

The university's board of trustees confirmed Fry as president following an extensive national search. Fry has been the president of Drexel University since 2010.

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Drexel University President John Fry speaks during a news conference at Drexel University, April 2, 2013, in Philadelphia.

Drexel University President John Fry speaks during a news conference at Drexel University, April 2, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)

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After a comprehensive national search and input from the community, the Temple University Board of Trustees confirmed the appointment of John Fry as its 15th president today.

Fry has served as president of Drexel University since 2010. This marks an unprecedented jump between the top leadership positions at two of Philadelphia’s largest universities.

“I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve as the 15th President of Temple University, a globally recognized, mission-driven R1 university. Temple stands as a cornerstone of our region’s vitality — a vibrant and accessible anchor institution that provides transformative opportunities and positively impacts countless lives through its mission,” said Fry.

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Temple University notes Fry’s many accomplishments while at the helm of his current institution.

“He has championed high-impact academic initiatives to increase opportunities for students and faculty, and prioritized student and faculty success. Drexel advanced several university-wide initiatives, including improving the teaching, learning and research framework to best allow for interdisciplinary collaboration and program innovation,” according to a news release.

Temple has had its own share of recent tragedy and top leadership shake-ups. In March of 2023, Temple’s first Black president, Jason Wingard, resigned after a tumultuous tenure of less than two years. His resignation was fueled by student protests over the surge of violence and safety concerns that impacted the North Philadelphia campus.

Temple University named JoAnne Epps its acting president a month later following Wingard’s resignation.

On Sept. 19, 2023, Epps was onstage at a memorial service for Charles L. Blockson at Temple’s Performing Arts Center when she abruptly fell ill. The 72-year-old was taken to Temple University Hospital, where she later died.

Temple named Richard Englert interim president in the wake of Epps’ death. It was his third time leading the university as interim president.

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Fry previously served as president of Franklin & Marshall College from 2002 to 2010, and as executive vice president at the University of Pennsylvania. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Fry graduated from Lafayette College and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the New York University Stern School of Business.

Fry will eventually succeed Englert, who has served the Temple community for 48 years.

“We are deeply grateful to Dick Englert for stepping up during a difficult transition and serving Temple in his third — and perhaps most momentous — turn as president,” said Board of Trustees Chair Mitchell L. Morgan. “We thank him for answering the call, as he always has, and we know he will continue to provide a steady hand of leadership during this transition.”

Last year, Temple University enrolled 30,530 students compared to Drexel’s 23,217 enrollment during the 2022-2023 school year.

Fry will officially start his tenure at Temple once new leadership has been named at Drexel.

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