Fryer Fund

John Fryer from yearbook
John E. Fryer from the Transylvania University yearbook.

John E. Fryer

John E. Fryer, a 1957 pre-med graduate of Transylvania, was an accomplished psychiatrist and one of the most influential figures in LGBTQ* advocacy in American medical history. His 1972 address to the American Psychiatric Association—delivered in disguise and with a distorted voice—was a watershed moment that ultimately helped effectively remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders the following year.

John passed away in 2003 (read his sister’s remembrance), but Transylvania honors his legacy by working to support and protect the rights and well-being of our students who come from groups that have historically been marginalized. That work is being supplemented thanks to a generous gift from Cole Rucker ’85, who has established the John E. Fryer ’57 Fund for Diversity and Inclusion. The fund includes an initial gift of $50,000, and an additional $25,000 challenge grant to encourage other alumni and friends to match Cole’s challenge.

Read more about John Fryer

I will never forget the moment when I first read the account of Dr. Fryer’s groundbreaking and historic testimony before the American Psychiatric Association. Seeing he was a Transylvania graduate made me incredibly proud. Knowing he testified at great risk to his professional life, and the impact his participation had, made me even prouder.

Cole Rucker

John Fryer APA speech
Fryer wearing a Richard Nixon mask during his speech to the American Psychiatric Association in 1972.

The fund supports:

  • Non-classroom programming and education for students who have historically been marginalized, as well as their future allies.
  • Student attendance and participation in related seminars, meetings and gatherings.
  • Student diversity and inclusion events that promote the Project One vision.
  • Other programming directly related to Project One.

Students who benefit:

  • African American students
  • Asian students
  • First-generation students
  • Hispanic students
  • International students
  • LGBTQ* students
  • Native American students
  • Students with disabilities
  • All Transy students will benefit as they learn about and develop a better understanding of and appreciation for diversity.


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