Jack D. Fry, Ph.D., was raised in Overland Park, Kan., where he first gained interest in horticulture by working in the yard alongside his father. During his undergraduate studies at K-State, Fry decided turfgrass science was the option he wanted to pursue. Later on, he chose to further his knowledge in the same area at the graduate level and attended the University of Maryland (M.S.) and Colorado State University (Ph.D.). Before returning to Kansas State University, Dr. Fry served as an assistant professor in the department of horticulture at Louisiana State University from 1987-1991.
Beginning in 1991, Fry began his very successful career at K-State. His many accomplishments include serving as an advisor for numerous M.S. and Ph.D. candidates, authoring over 100 scientific publications, and co-authoring the textbook "Applied Turfgrass Science and Physiology."
In addition to his academic achievements, Fry has been an instructor at the GCSAA Education Conference at the Golf Industry Show and writes a monthly column for Golf Course Management magazine. He also serves as co-advisor with Steve Keeley for the GCSAA Student Chapter at K-State. Fry is currently serving a 50 percent teaching and 50 percent research contract. He helped spearhead the Golf Course and Sports Turf Operations curriculum and takes pride in his advising duties, especially assisting those students working on the six credit hours of required internships in the horticulture major.
Fry's research is focused on reducing inputs for turfgrass, including water, fertilizer and pesticides. In this effort, he has focused his research over the past 10 years on zoysiagrass, a turfgrass that requires fewer inputs. Fry has worked in conjunction with researchers at Texas A&M-Dallas to develop two new zoysiagrass cultivars.These grasses are drought resistant, cold hardy and require minimal inputs to maintain quality. They are best suited for use in the transition zone of the United States, the area in the middle of the country where growing good turf is difficult.