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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, April 7, 2009

IU's Kelley School of Business remembers William Fry

April 7, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business today are remembering Indianapolis-area businessman and philanthropist William R. Fry with expressions of condolences and appreciation for his support of IU and his desire to help people who were less fortunate.

Fry, who died Sunday (April 5) at the age of 72, has been a longtime supporter of the university. The Carmel, Ind., resident most recently gave $15 million to the Kelley School for a new, life-changing undergraduate scholarship program for financially challenged students from underrepresented areas of society.

"Mr. Fry represented all that we value at the Kelley School," said Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School. "He was an inspirational entrepreneur, a person of great vision and integrity and a man who generously gave back to help others who were less fortunate. He will be missed greatly, but his spirit will live forever through all the lives that he will change as a result of his support of our students."

"The remarkable thing I remember most about Mr. Fry is how humble and down to earth he was. He had a clear vision of why and how he could support talented students who otherwise would have no means to attend college," added M.A. Venkataramanan, chair of Kelley's undergraduate program. "He wanted to make a profound impact on the Kelley School of Business. I am confident his generosity will alter the landscape of the our school and IU for the better."

The scholarship program, made possible through Fry's gift, will help the Kelley School pursue a major initiative toward increased inclusiveness. As with the Bloomington campus, the school has set ambitious objectives for increased faculty hiring and enrollment of people from underrepresented populations.

Fry, a native of Winamac, Ind., has made a number of significant contributions to improve life in communities where he lived, but he said last fall that he especially liked the impact that his Kelley School gift would have on young minds, and also that it will spark success among people from financially challenged environments.

He said that he simply hoped his gift will help students who "have the drive and the intelligence, but have not had the opportunity ... I'm oriented toward trying to make the world a better place."

Fry attended IU and was president of his senior class in 1958, president of his fraternity, Sigma Chi, and a member of the campus' ROTC program.

After graduation, he served for five years in the U.S. Army in South Carolina and in South Korea. Afterwards, he he joined American Fletcher National Bank. After a five-year stint as a stockbroker with Merrill Lynch, Fry returned to AFNB where he remained until 1983 and ultimately became senior vice president and chief investment officer of its trust department.

After AFNB, Fry started an investment management firm, Progressive United Corp., in Indianapolis. Seven years later, he began a successful career in radio. He eventually owned five stations in Shreveport, La. After selling the radio stations in 1999, he managed his investments while living in Las Vegas, Nev., before returning to Indiana last year.

In lieu of flowers, his family suggests that donations can be made in Fry's honor to the IU Simon Cancer Center's Multiple Myeloma research efforts. Checks can be made payable to "IUF Myeloma Research Fund," Simon Cancer Center, care of the IU Foundation, P.O. Box 660245, Indianapolis, Ind, 46266-0245.