On April 20, 2017, 135 guests attended DePaul Catholic’s annual Hall of Fame dinner, held at the LaSalle University Ballroom. The event netted over $43,000 to support DePaul’s educational programs.
Honored this year were John and Maureen Fries, and David Diehl.
John and Maureen Fries live in Moorestown, New Jersey, and grew up in Germantown. They graduated in 1957 and 1960, respectively, from St. Francis Assisi School, now The DePaul Catholic School. John and Maureen received all their sacraments at St. Francis Assisi, from baptism to their marriage in 1969. John was also an altar server there.
John graduated from North Catholic High School and LaSalle College; Maureen is an alumna of Little Flower High School.
While Maureen raised their daughters, Nicole and Jeannine, John began a career in computer sales and marketing. He then founded a health care consulting company which managed distressed HMO’s. One HMO he purchased in Miami grew to become the largest in that city. Now a venture capitalist, John is active on several non-profit boards. The Fries were instrumental in helping DePaul Catholic purchase the former St. Francis Assisi Church and rectory.
Below are excerpts from John Fries’ Hall of Fame honoree acceptance speech, made on behalf of himself and his wife.
“Maureen and I are truly humbled by this honor. It’s a real thrill to be sharing this
Hall of Fame Induction with Mr. David Diehl. He is a true friend of DePaul
Catholic and the IMS mission.
I want to recognize the contributions of Ann and Mark Baiada, (Ann is a graduate
of Immaculate,) as well as Mrs. Eileen Flynn, (Sean Flynn’s mother,) and the
Hocker Foundation, that became very impressed with the great work being done
We all partnered to buy the school, the church, the rectory and the school yard.
We see DePaul Catholic as a good place for a great education.
Tonight’s theme, “A School Grows in Germantown,” embodies our common
goal: to give the kids at DePaul Catholic something like the experience we
enjoyed here. This goal also reflects the DePaul Catholic mission: “empowering
students to become life-long learners, leaders and servants who build the
kingdom of God.”
Our journey began here 50 or 60 years ago. We became life-long
learners, some of us became leaders, and others, servants, but all have
endeavored to build the kingdom of God. This is thanks in large measure to the
hard work and dedication of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who instilled in us a
sense of self-discipline, strong moral values, and the confidence to believe in
With the advantage of hindsight, we can reflect upon our success and trace it to
the education we received at a parochial school, where it was about more than
classroom learning; it was about what kind of person you were to become.
Today things are different. Our city is coping with new realities, our
neighborhoods are adjusting to more diverse populations, and the
parochial school system we knew as children is no longer relevant. But
that doesn’t mean that a Catholic education is irrelevant. Those core
values which were ingrained in us back in the 1950’s and 1960’s are more
important now than ever before.
So in 2013, with the founding of Independence Mission Schools, (IMS,) Catholic
education got a new lease on life. IMS is a non-profit organization which assumed control of fifteen (15) inner-city parish schools from the Archdiocese.
Schools feature separate boards to support governance, offer modern operating
infrastructures, and are dedicated to a faith-driven academic success model.
IMS schools are led by faculty and staff committed to core values. These values
will assure a promising future in and out of the classroom, and will continue to
produce outstanding young men and women.
And this is why we invested in IMS and DePaul Catholic. As the IMS mission
reads: “Help us help them transform their lives and communities.”
ACCEPTANCE SPEECH OF JOHN FRIES, ON BEHALF OF JOHN AND
MAUREEN FRIES, HALL OF FAME AWARD DINNER, 4/2017