The Frank Center for Public Affairs

Editorial StaffJanuary 17, 20243min
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President Michael S. Roth ’78 has announced the newly expanded Public Affairs Center will be named in honor of John Frank ’78, P’12 and Diann Kim P’12 and will reopen for classes this semester.

The Frank Center for Public Affairs will house offices and classrooms for the economics, government, and history departments, as well as the College of Social Studies. It will boast a more energy efficient layout—including radiant panels for heating and cooling, displacement ventilation, and a green space on the roof—and expanded areas for serendipitous conversation and spontaneous collaboration, establishing the Frank Center as a hub for interdisciplinary work in the social sciences.

John Frank, who has served as Chair of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees since 2020, and his wife, Diann Kim, are longstanding advocates for Wesleyan, supporting numerous University priorities over the years, including the writing program, financial aid, the Wesleyan Fund, and facilities. With their gift to support the development of the Frank Center, they affirm Wesleyan’s commitment to creating physical spaces that foster interdisciplinary learning. This commitment goes back a long way—in 1954 a gift from the Surdna Foundation created the Public Affairs Center in honor of John E. Andrus, Class of 1862.

Noting his own experiences as a history major at Wesleyan, Frank said, “The critical thinking and writing skills I developed at Wesleyan—largely through the study of History, Government, and the other social sciences—have had an enormous impact on my life. Diann and I are delighted to have the opportunity to help ensure that future Wesleyan students will continue to have access to the types of formal and informal spaces that facilitate learning.”

Of the newly renovated space, Dean of the Social Sciences and Professor of Religion Mary-Jane Rubenstein shared, “The best condition for collaboration and cross-pollination is proximity. Thanks to its being light, bright, and beautifully appointed, the Frank Center is a place everyone will want to be. And when students and faculty meet one another in both planned and unplanned ways, we model the kind of ‘public’ that grounds the work of the Center. Sharing space with people of diverse backgrounds, commitments, skills, and concerns, we hope to widen our worlds, approach old problems in new ways, and sometimes even change our minds.”

“In recognition of the Kim-Frank family’s generosity and enduring support of Wesleyan, please join me in congratulating them on this well-deserved honor,” Roth said.