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Honors College renamed W.A. Franke Honors College after $25 million donation

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Eli Rahamim | The Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona Honors College is now the W.A. Franke Honors College after it was renamed at a ceremony on Oct. 9, 2021.

The University of Arizona has changed the name of the Honors College to the W.A. Franke Honors College, after a large monetary contribution from William A. "Bill" Franke, a prominent investor and philanthropist.

According to a statement over email by Kevin Hall, the college’s director of recruitment and marketing, the $25 million donation was first announced at the Honors College Family Weekend Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 9. 

Though the donation was first publicly disclosed at the event, a gift agreement was signed several weeks prior at a meeting in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Katy Smith, the associate director of external communications at the UA Foundation, said that the first payment on this agreement has since been made. 

Some of the prominent attendees of the event that were listed on the Honors College’s website included university President Dr. Robert C. Robbins, Honors College Dean Terry Hunt and donor Franke, whose family was also in attendance.

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A news release issued by the office of Robbins stated that the donation will be used for “student scholarships, stipends to defray the cost of living in the Honors Village, and funding to help students develop global leadership skills through participation in study abroad.”

In addition, the donation will also be put towards creating a new Honors Faculty Academy as well as an endowed chair for the Honors College Dean. Details on the academy have yet to be released.

The donation made to the college is one of many philanthropic gifts that have been made to various academic institutions by Franke and his family over the years.

According to the website of Northern Arizona University’s W.A. Franke College of Business, Franke, a managing partner at investment firm Indigo Partners, made a $25 million contribution to NAU in 2007. Additionally, a news release issued by UA’s Eller College of Management stated that Franke’s son, Brian Franke, contributed $1.5 million in 2020 to establish an endowed chair in the college’s Department of Finance.


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