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Remembering Frank Dryden

Athena Castro, Executive Director

Recently, we lost a true pillar of the Caltech Y community. Frank Dryden, whose name has long been synonymous with the Caltech Y, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, October 19.


Frank’s association with our group began before his first year at Caltech. In the summer 1950, he stepped off the train and was greeted by Wes Hershey, director of the Caltech Y from 1946 to 1976, who was there to take him to our Frosh Camp. And so began a lifelong commitment and devotion to our organization. Frank would go on to be a member of the Caltech Y Board of Directors on and off for nearly 70 years.


As a student, Frank joined the Y Student Executive Committee (ExComm) and eventually became president. Frank graduated in 1954 and stayed at Caltech to earn a master’s degree. While he was a graduate student, he chaired the board and subsequently led the Caltech Y as chair several more times over the years.


In 2014, we recognized Frank’s many years of service and named him an emeritus board member, an honor given only to four former board members: Royal Sorensen, Margaret Flemming, and Ken and Betty Rhodes.


Frank’s leadership and vision over the years have been inspiring. I often sought Frank’s wise counsel. He served as my unofficial mentor, especially when I stepped into the role of executive director as a young professional more than 20 years ago. I admired Frank’s ability to manage people and board meetings. He was an effective communicator, who was at all times warm and authentic but could also be decisive. He was a true leader who genuinely loved the Caltech Y.


The Caltech Y is what it is today because of Frank’s unwavering commitment and leadership. His fingerprints are all over the Caltech Y, and I will miss him dearly.



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