Fred Frank YC '54
Peter J. Solomon Company
A bequest for a full professorship
"Yale gave me a very broad liberal arts education, and I met a lot of people in different areas of life that I probably wouldn’t have met before, so it expanded my horizons. I grew up in Salt Lake City, and my father was in the men’s retail clothing business. He subscribed to Fortune magazine and he kept all of them. As a young kid, I loved going through each issue. I remember reading the September 1931 edition — an article on the great Eastern prep schools. I’d never heard of a prep school. I’d never been 50 yards east of Salt Lake City. And so, at dinner, I said to my parents, 'Can I go away to a prep school?' My parents asked, 'What are you talking about?' So, I cited the Fortune article and why I thought that such a school would be a wonderful opportunity for me. My father said he would visit several on his next business trip to New York, which he did. He visited five schools, and was duly impressed but said, 'I doubt you can get in. However, if you wish to apply you can.' I applied and the first school I heard from was Hotchkiss, which accepted me. My family put me on a train from Salt Lake City to New York to Lakeville, Connecticut, by myself. Hotchkiss led me to Yale, followed by two years in the military, having been drafted, and then on to the Stanford Business School.
"I didn’t attend SOM — it didn’t exist when I went to business school — but I’ve supported it since the beginning. The business school has the support of Yale undergraduates who are in business, like myself, because we want the school to attain the same level of excellence and stature that the undergraduate school has. Now the school is on a course to become like the other schools at Yale — the Law School, the School of Medicine, the Divinity School, the School of Art — the best at its discipline and emulated around the world. I think all of us who graduate from such fine institutions have a feeling and a sense of wanting to give back. It’s not all monetary. You volunteer for various things. Or you can do as I’ve done and establish scholarships and other forms of financial aid.
"Planned giving is a very useful tool for most people, because you can build your net worth to support your family and your family’s education, while making a commitment to the school. If you are successful, you are able to give back in a meaningful way at the time of your death. I think it begins to shape what I would call your sense of return. There are also significant tax benefits in our current tax code, because it’s outside your estate, so it’s not taxable for estate taxes. It’s hard to measure how important any of the schools I went to are in who I became, and what success I’ve enjoyed. But clearly I have a lot of recognition for that, as does my family.
"I’ve also endowed two professorships. No profession is more important to the long-term success of the country than education, and yet, the people who are in the educational world are, in my opinion, very inadequately compensated. So it’s a way to give back to the educational world, so that hopefully they will be able to attract even better people. Or even the same kind of dedicated professionals they are now attracting, so that they can have a more attractive lifestyle. And I hope lots of people emulate that — it’s a very rewarding experience."