In Memoriam: Dr. Al Fry

Dr. Al Fry, Elisha B. Nye Professor of Chemistry

Announcement from the Provost:

“I am sorry to inform you that Albert J. Fry, Elisha B. Nye Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, passed away on February 1, 2024, at the age of 86. 

Al received his BS from University of Michigan and his PhD from University of Wisconsin at Madison. He joined the Wesleyan faculty as a postdoctoral research fellow in 1964 and as an assistant professor in 1965. He taught here for 52 years before retiring in 2016. He published more than 170 research articles during his career, as well as two books on organic electrochemistry, and was a member of the American Chemical Society and The Electrochemical Society.

“Al Fry was an exceptionally generous and supportive colleague with a boundless knowledge of physical organic chemistry,” recalled Brian Northrop, E.B. Nye Professor of Chemistry. “His lab was a vibrant place filled with graduate and lots of undergraduate research students who were fortunate to learn directly from one of the best.”

Giselle Reyes ’18, MA’19, visiting instructor of chemistry, worked in Professor Fry’s group while completing her BA/MA. “Professor Fry was an incredibly supportive, caring, and enthusiastic mentor. He excelled at making the lab an approachable, engaging, and welcoming environment for everyone and encouraged diversity in thought and teamwork. He helped me to discover my passion for research and desire to pursue a career in chemistry and he inspired me to face challenges life throws at me with humor, grit, and grace. He was my biggest advocate in the beginning of my career, and I would not be the scientist or person that I am today without him. “

“Al was a wonderful colleague and friend for 42 years,” said George A. Petersson, Fisk Professor of Natural Science, Emeritus. “As a senior colleague he was extremely supportive when I arrived at Wesleyan. We became close friends as I joined him among the senior faculty. There were amusing moments both socially and at work. I remember back in the days before everything was done electronically, I flew to Washington to hand deliver my NSF proposal by the deadline. As I turned to climb the steps to NSF headquarters, I met Al who was descending the steps after delivering his proposal. Al Fry was one of the people who made Wesleyan a very special place. He will be missed by everyone who had the privilege to know him.”

Al is survived by his wife, Melissa; his daughter, Anne Fry and son-in-law, Steve Bozeman; son Peter Fry and daughter-in-law Rebecca Springer; son Jon Fry and daughter-in-law Kim Mergenthaler Fry; and grandchildren Morgan Bozeman, Molly Fry, Maggie Fry, Will Fry, and Mackenzie Fry. There will be a private family service at D’Angelo Funeral Home in Middletown, Connecticut. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Leopold Schepp Foundation, 950 Third Avenue, Suite 3100, New York, NY 10022.”

Nicole Stanton
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Dance

Giselle Padilla Reyes ’18 and Dr. Al Fry, at Commencement