Tom Franke ’63 to be Honored With Forester Impact Award

Tom Franke ’63 to be Honored With Forester Impact Award

The Lake Forest College Athletic Department recently announced that Tom Franke, class of 1963, would be honored as this year's Forester Impact Award recipient.

Director of Athletics Jackie Slaats remarked, "Tom has been a very engaged alumnus and avid fan of Forester Athletics over the years and I have been fortunate to get to know him and his wife Jackie well during my tenure. I am extremely grateful for the generosity they have shown toward our student-athletes and that they continue to stay in close contact with the Athletic Department and the College. Tom has been an instrumental leader in bringing back the varsity golf program and also honoring one of the most beloved coaches in school history with the annual Triptow Memorial Golf Tournament. Tom is very deserving of this honor and I'm thrilled to recognize him this fall."

Franke was a multi-sport athlete himself during his time as a student on campus. He batted .264 and was 8-4 as a pitcher during his four-year baseball career and served as a team captain as a junior and senior. He also lettered all four years in basketball, captained the Foresters as a senior, and graduated with 501 points and 261 rebounds in 69 career games. Tom was a member of the 1960-61 Forester basketball team that finished as the runner-up in the College Conference of Illinois and is still tied-for-fourth in program history for most victories in a season (16). Away from athletics he was president of the Phi Pi Epsilon fraternity and majored in business. 

Throughout the decades since his graduation, Tom has stayed connected and involved with Lake Forest College and Forester Athletics. He served as a class agent in the 1980s and on the Board of Trustees from 1995 until 2003. As a Trustee he was a member of the Athletics, Student Affairs, and Investment Committees. Tom received the Outstanding Aumni Leadership Award from the College in 2008.

In 2014, the Forester Athletic Department reinstated men's golf as a varsity sport and added women's golf for the first time in history. Beyond Tom's dedication to revive the golf program, the Franke's have hosted both the men's and women's teams for dinner in their Florida home when the Foresters have taken their annual spring break trip to the area. Head Men's Golf Coach Brian Bruha '02 stated, "as part of the men's golf program, it has been wonderful to get to know both Tom and his wife Jackie. Their generosity toward our teams has been unmatched and they deserve much of the credit for the creation of the golf lab, our practice facility inside the Sports and Recreation Center, which helped us achieve our goal of winning the conference championship this past season."

The interaction with the golf teams has also been a positive one for the Franke's. "Being involved with Jackie and Brian as they started and developed the golf programs has been a lot of fun," commented Tom. "The young men and women are not only outstanding student-athletes, but great ambassadors for Lake Forest College."

The Forester Impact Award honors individuals who have significantly affected athletics at Lake Forest College through their loyal support and whose consistent and meritorious commitment has contributed to the success of Forester Athletics. More specifically, It is one of two appreciation honors sponsored by the Forester Athletic Network (F.A.N. Club), with the Golden Whistle Award being the other. The purpose of these awards is to recognize members of the Forester community who, over a significant number of years, have actively supported athletics at Lake Forest College through their service, dedication, and commitment and, who by giving of themselves, have demonstrated the extraordinary spirit and pride associated with Forester Athletics and its Tradition of Excellence.

Franke, the fifth recipient of this award, joins previous winners Karen Herman (2014), Spike Gummere (2015), Paula Dau '58 (2016), and Bob Tiernan '47 (2017). The award will be presented during the Athletic Recognition Ceremony on Homecoming Weekend, Saturday, October 13. 

For more information about the Athletic Recognition Ceremony or the F.A.N. Club please contact Associate Athletic Director Blake Theisen at 847-735-6155 or theisen@lakeforest.edu.