The Thomas S. Fry Memorial Laboratory
From Vision to Reality The Thomas S. Fry Memorial Fund, honoring Dr. Tom Fry, was established in 2004 to
further Dr. Fry's vision of renovating the soil mechanics laboratory in the Department
of Civil Engineering. When complete, this modernization project will provide a 21st
century platform to educate students and facilitate important research by providing
new student workstations, state-of-the-art equipment and geotechnical software. In
addition to the laboratory renovation, the Fund will establish an endowment to maintain
Thomas S. Fry -- Educator, Engineer, Humanitarian
Dr. Thomas S. Fry (1927-2003) received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Soil Mechanics
from the University of Illinois. He served in the U.S. Army, worked as a consultant
and taught at the University of Missouri-Rolla before joining the University of Memphis
in 1969 as Chair of the Civil Engineering Department. During his tenure in the Civil
Engineering Department, Dr. Fry enhanced research activity, expanded enrollment,
and earned the University of Memphis' Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997.
Dr. Fry's strong commitment to his students and desire to establish a highly ranked
geotechnical engineering program at the University of Memphis had a transformational
effect on the evolution of the Herff College of Engineering and the Civil Engineering
Department. In addition, Dr. Fry's contributions were far-reaching as he influenced
many of the leaders in today's geotechnical industry. Research conducted under his
direction provided important data still used by engineers in the Mid-South region.
Dr. Fry was a devoted teacher and a good-natured individual. He was quick to share
a joke and words of encouragement, and his door was always open to students. The renovation
of the soil mechanics laboratory is dedicated to the memory of this outstanding educator.