Professor of turfgrass science joins Olathe faculty

Monday, June 17, 2019

Jack FryOLATHE — Jack Fry, Ph.D., professor of turfgrass science in the department of horticulture and natural resources at Kansas State University's Manhattan campus, recently joined the faculty team at the Olathe campus.

Fry will be exploring collaborative educational programs with community colleges and encouraging students to continue studying horticulture at Kansas State University. In addition, Fry will continue to conduct research in turfgrass science at the Olathe Horticulture Research and Extension Center where he has been working since July 2018.

"Dr. Fry's deep knowledge about turfgrass science is a great asset to the Greater Kansas City community, which is home to numerous public and private golf courses and athletic fields, as well as a staple of the region's economy and tourism industry," said Jackie Spears, interim dean and CEO of the Olathe campus. "I'm confident he will also bring a lot of synergy to our academic programs, including urban food systems, hospitality management and adult learning and leadership."

Fry, an Overland Park native, joined Kansas State University in 1991 in a 50 percent teaching and 50 percent research role. He has helped spearhead the Golf Course and Sports Turf Operations curriculum; advised numerous master's and doctoral students; authored more than 100 scientific publications and co-authored the textbook, "Applied Turfgrass Science and Physiology."

His research looks at reducing inputs for turfgrass, which includes water, fertilizer and pesticides. This has led to focusing on zoysiagrass, a turfgrass that requires fewer inputs to thrive. He worked with Texas A&M-Dallas to develop two new zoysiagrass cultivars, Chisholm and Innovation. The new grasses are drought resistant, cold hardy and require minimal inputs to maintain quality. They are best suited for the middle of the U.S., where growing quality turf grass is difficult.

Fry holds a faculty member position with the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America. He also presents a seminar at their annual Golf Industry Show and writes a monthly column for the organization's magazine, "Golf Course Management."

Fry earned his bachelor's degree in horticulture from Kansas State University, his master's in agronomy from the University of Maryland and his doctorate in turfgrass management from Colorado State University.