Wednesday, October 21, 2020

With great sadness the Tippie College of Business learned of the passing of Harris Frank, supporter and benefactor of the Judith R. Frank Business Communication Center, at the age of 95.

The father of Tippie emerita faculty member Nancy Hauserman, Harris Frank had long been impressed by the work of the Tippie College of Business. It was his daughter Nancy, in her role as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, alongside former Dean Gary Fethke, who formalized and launched the college’s communication center in 2001. The communication center was one of the very first communication/writing programs developed within a business school.

In 2006, Harris Frank and his wife Judith provided a significant gift to the college to name the program the Judith R. Frank Business Communication Center. Since that time, Harris continued supporting the center with additional gifts which have been instrumental in the center’s growth and prominence. Harris and Judith Frank are members of the Tippie Society, a recognition group for those who make an extraordinary impact on the college by giving $1 million or more.

The Judith R. Frank Business Communication Center has grown substantially by adding programming for graduate students, expanding programming to support written, oral, and visual communication, incorporating diversity training in its business communication coursework, and developing a peer mentoring program which is now used as a model at peer institutions.

Pam Bourjaily, director of the Frank Communication Center, referred to Frank as “a noble and large-hearted soul who was supportive and perceptive both. He leaves the world so much the better for his presence, and that is the ultimate legacy.”

The family is asking that donations in his memory be made to the University of Iowa Center of Advancement to the fund for the Judith R. Frank Business Communication Center. Online gifts may be made here or sent to the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. In honor of Harris Frank’s life and good work, Gary and Carol Fethke will match any gift made by a member of the college faculty and staff to this fund up to $25,000.

More about Harris Frank

Born and raised in St. Louis, Harris Frank received his Bachelor of Science degree in naval science in 1945 from the University of Southern California. Shortly thereafter, he and Judith were married, and they enjoyed 62 years of marriage before her passing in 2009. His professional career was spent at Solon Gershman Inc./Gershman Commercial Real Estate for more than 50 years.

In his spare time, Frank continued to make an impact in his community through volunteer work with the Jewish Community Centers Association, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, and City Academy (which honored him with the Oliver M. Langenberg Award for his generosity). Frank was a founder of the St. Louis Senior Olympics, which debuted in 1977 and thanks to his efforts, became a national event ten years later. Today, the event includes qualifying games in every state and more than 14,000 competitors.

Frank is preceded in death by his wife Judith and survived by his two children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Services will be held on Friday, October 23.

In an email last fall, Frank commented “Absolutely NOTHING in the field of philanthropy has given me more satisfaction than that which you have created at the Communications Center. I know that those who participate not only benefit now, while they are in school, but for the rest of their productive days, too. For me, the Communication Center is a dream come true.”

The Tippie College of Business is honored that Harris Frank chose to support the Business Communication Center. To us, his support and commitment is also a dream come true.