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Lorraine Frank


Inducted in 2015

Lorraine Weiss Frank's accomplishments were wide in scope and reflected her belief that people should actively participate in the civic life of their communities, whether neighborhood, school board, city council, or state government, not only to improve the quality of life but to preserve democracy. She understood that the beauty and richness of Arizona comes from its people, as individuals and collectively, sharing their stories.

Lorraine Weiss was born in Tarrytown, New York on June 7, 1923. She graduated from Vassar College in 1942. She married lawyer John Frank, and they moved to Arizona in 1954, where they raised five children. In 1973, Lorraine founded the Arizona Humanities Council, now called Arizona Humanities, a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1974, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona. Attuned to gender and women’s issues in Arizona, the nation, and the world, Lorraine funded the first women’s oral history project in the state and nourished public discussion at conferences on women’s issues in communities throughout the state, as well as at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Lorraine led a loose coalition of humanities council directors that helped establish Western Women’s History as a field of study.

Lorraine led Arizona Humanities from 1973 to1989, implementing many programs that are still offered today. She started a Speakers Bureau to provide humanities speakers from a variety of topical areas for community enrichment. She also focused on engaging diverse constituencies who might not otherwise be interested or have access to humanities programming. During her time as Executive Director, for example, she helped rural libraries develop humanities-related public programs, part of the community outreach that is still an important aspect of Arizona Humanities programming today.


Alongside her long service at Arizona Humanities, she served on boards of healthcare organizations throughout her career, demonstrating an enduring dedication to causes that benefited Arizona communities in multiple ways.


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