Longtime turfgrass educator and researcher will receive award at the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Show
Lawrence, Kan. (Jan. 11, 2022) – Jack Fry, Ph.D., professor and turfgrass Extension specialist at Kansas State University (K-State), has been selected to receive the 2022 Outstanding Contribution Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). He will be recognized during the Opening Session of the 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show on Feb. 8 in San Diego.
The award, which is making its debut this year, is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the membership, through outstanding contributions for the golf course industry. The contribution must be significant in both substance and duration. The outstanding contribution may be or have been regional in nature.
"Dr. Fry is highly deserving of our inaugural Outstanding Contribution Award,” said Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. “During the nearly four decades that he has been involved with GCSAA, he has bettered the professional lives of superintendents through his teaching, research and Extension work. His service has been invaluable to the game, the industry and GCSAA members.”
Fry took his childhood interest in plants to K-State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture. His studies at K-State led him into turfgrass science and initiated his first connection with GCSAA when he received an undergraduate scholarship from the association in 1982.
“That early connection (with GCSAA) was so important to me,” Fry said. “At that young age, I got to know people in the industry and see how really broad it is.”
He would go on to earn his master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Maryland and then his doctorate in turfgrass management at Colorado State University. After a four-year stint as an assistant professor at Louisiana State, Fry returned to K-State to teach in 1991. In 1998, the same year he began teaching GCSAA seminars, he took a lead role in developing K-State’s golf course management concentration in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources. In 2020, he transitioned from teaching to his current role for the university, which combines research and Extension to the commercial turf industry. Over the years he has advised more than 400 students, many of whom have gone on to careers in the golf course industry.
Outside of the classroom, Fry’s environmental turfgrass research has focused on maintaining turf with fewer inputs. Much of the research was done with golf course superintendents in mind and was funded by golf organizations such as GCSAA, the Kansas GCSA, Heart of America GCSA and the USGA. He is also a prolific author including the textbook “Applied Turfgrass Science and Physiology” and a regular column in GCSAA’s GCM magazine. Fry’s work earned him the Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award from the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) in 2011, and he was named Fellow of the CSSA a year later.
While Fry has earned industry accolades individually, he is quick to recognize all those who have helped him along the way including his mentors Bob Carrow, Ph.D., Pete Dernoeden, Ph.D., and Jack Butler, Ph.D.; his many colleagues at Kansas State as well as the university; his students; the superintendents he has worked with; GCSAA and its Kansas and Heart of America affiliated chapters; the USGA; others in the industry; his parents; and most importantly, his wife, Nathalie.
“It’s all about a team approach to success in a career, regardless of the position,” Fry said. “It’s been a team that has allowed me to be successful. Thank you to GCSAA and its members and those involved in the nomination (for the Outstanding Contribution Award), I appreciate all of them. “
To learn more about the Outstanding Contribution Award, visit gcsaa.org/awards.