The Triangle: What’s your full name and where are you from?
President John A. Fry: John Fry and I’m from Haverford, Pa.
TT: If you were a superhero, what superpowers would you have and what would your name be?
JF: You know in “Harry Potter” where Hermione is able to do two things at once? It’s like a spell she can cast on herself so she can go to two classes at once. But that’s not an answer, so if I were a superhero, my superpowers would be to be in two places at once. My name would be Flash.
TT: Do you have any hidden talents?
JF: I can remember lots and lots of faces. I can remember things I’ve done with people who I haven’t seen in 20 years. Someone will come up who I haven’t seen in a while, and I’ll say exactly when and where I last saw them. I remember faces and I remember things about them.
TT: What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
JF: I’ve had some stuff when I was in Ethiopia. I didn’t even know what I was eating, but it was the strangest food. They described it to me, and it was good. I ate everything in front of me. I’ve eaten a lot of exotic foods in a lot of places, and my rule of thumb is that unless you clean your plate, you insult your guests. So I will try anything, no matter what it is.
TT: What is the most impulsive thing you have ever done?
JF: Ask my wife to marry me.
TT: What do you eat on Thanksgiving?
JF: Turkey, stuffing and all those things, but then we make so much that we can eat some the next day.
TT: Where is the farthest you have traveled on vacation, and what did you do there?
JF: Probably to Rome. I did that after I graduated from business school, and I basically hiked in Europe, and that’s the furthest I was. But the furthest I’ve been was Ethiopia this year when I was at Drexel.
TT: If you could be anyone, living or dead, for a day, who would you be? Why? What would you do?
JF: I would be Theodore Roosevelt, who was president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. And why? Because he had such an incredibly full life and was so well versed in so many different subjects. His life was just fascinating to me. And what would I do? I would try to maybe carry out a piece of work that he was never able to get done when he was president: some legislation regarding preserving open space or cracking down on trusts.
TT: Do you have any obscure habits?
JF: I read six newspapers a day, but then what’s obscure is when I miss three or four days, I’ll have a big bag of papers and I’ll carry it around the house and try to find a quiet place to read them. My wife accuses me of odd behavior for hoarding newspapers. Next thing, she said, I’ll be bringing home all sorts of cats and putting them in house, which can lead to nothing good.
TT: What do you do on a bad day?
JF: Exercise. When I feel bad, I go out and I exercise. I play squash.
TT: What’s your favorite type of music? Song? Artist?
JF: I like all sorts of music, but I would say rock, and Jackson Browne is my favorite artist. There are a bunch of songs that he did in the ‘70s and ‘80s that I like, especially “Running on Empty.”
TT: In your opinion, what is the greatest invention?
JF: Can you call the Internet an invention? It has an incredible ability to change people’s lives by providing information and access and opportunity to start your own businesses. It has had such a profound effect on society.
TT: If you were not the president of a university, what would your job be?
JF: It would definitely be completely different. I would like to run an antique and book store with my wife.
TT: How did you meet your wife?
JF: My mother set me up with my wife. My mother and her mother met, and they exchanged our numbers .
TT: What’s your favorite lunch truck?
JF: I don’t do lunch trucks, but my favorite restaurant in the city is POD.
TT: What is your sense of fashion?
JF: Poor. … Proper during the week and very dressed down on the weekends, no suits or ties or anything like that. If I could wear anything to work, I would wear my favorite old suit that everyone makes fun of. It’s kind of green and is tweed, but it’s really warm and comfortable, and I love this suit, but it might be a little too quirky for Drexel. I might wear it every once in a while, and everyone makes fun of me for it, but I don’t care because it’s my favorite suit.
TT: What’s your favorite place on campus to grab a quiet moment?
JF: I just like actually walking on the campus when I don’t have a destination. I will do a loop and I get to see everything, but it’s quiet because no one is talking to me. I’ll say hi to people as I am walking along, but I like to just traverse the place and see how it is developing.
TT: Penn or Drexel: Who’s got more style?
JF: Drexel. Totally, and especially given everything we are doing up at Westphal and in the fashion program. Drexel’s styling majorly.
TT: What’s your favorite event during the school year?
JF: I like when we do the big holiday party in the Great Court. I think it’s really nice because it’s all people who are coming. It’s the faculty, the staff and some students. It’s all up and down the floors. It’s very festive, and we raise money for different causes. It is a nice time of the year for everyone to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Since we are all so busy, it is nice to have those moments when we can let our hair down, hang out and do something.
TT: Did you have a nickname growing up?
JF: I have a nickname now. My wife calls me Jay.
Triangle Talks is a weekly column that highlights members of the Drexel community.