Lorraine Weiss Frank


Honored By

Honored by: Arizona Humanities Council
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Leaf Tile, Medium

The Arizona Humanities Council's founding Executive Director, Lorraine W. Frank, died December 22, 2005, after a short hospital stay. She was 82.
Lorraine oversaw the distribution of $3 million for cultural activities during her tenure at AHC, 1973 to 1989. She created $1,000 Minigrants, issued Requests for Proposals on changing initiatives, instituted summer teacher seminars, and established a resource center as a council-conducted project. She began raising funds from "friends of the humanities," and established an investment fund that grew at a respectable rate and continues to provide a safety net for AHC. In the history of the Arizona Humanities Council, Ann-Mary Johnson sums up Lorraine Frank's tenure: "Administratively she passed on legacies of proactive grant guidance, efficient use of resources, and most significantly, a strong executive director position that leads both staff and board. She provided AHC with a solid foundation to pursue these goals, developing the credibility and flexibility the Council would need to survive and flourish under her successor." She retired from AHC in 1989, and became the founding Executive Director for the Arizona Foundation for Women. AHC established the annual Lorraine W. Frank Lecture in her honor in 1990.

A graduate of Vassar College, Lorraine was active in the community through work on local, state, and national boards. She served on the board of the National Council on the Humanities, and on the Democratic National Committee. In Arizona, Lorraine served as co-chair, with Marshall Trimble, of the Governor's Countdown to the Centennial Committee, and Governor Napolitano appointed her in 2003 to the Board of Regents.

She was the recipient of a number of honors and awards, including the Sharlot Hall Award in 1995, a Susan B. Anthony Luminary Award in 1999, and honorary doctorates from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. In January 2003 The Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University dedicated The Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarship Advisement. The Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records conferred the Polly Rosenbaum Award posthumously upon Lorraine at Statehood Day February 14, 2006. The Editorial Board of The Arizona Republic observed shortly after her death, "A mentor so gracious and generous, you could visit her for Friday night dinner and stay the weekend. . . . This woman with her hair tied tightly in a bun had a gift for math, a passion for gardenias, and a profound impact on her friends."

Lorraine's husband of more than 50 years, John, a nationally renowned lawyer and legal scholar, died in 2002. The couple had five children and six grandchildren.