Libraries receives $500,000 commitment from Barbara Hackman Franklin

September 22, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- Barbara Hackman Franklin of Washington, D.C., former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and a member of Penn State's class of 1962, has directed $500,000 to name the Barbara Hackman Franklin Atrium in central Pattee Library on the University Park campus as part of the new and transformational Knowledge Commons project. This space, currently identified as the lending service lobby, will be renovated into additional service space.

The project will bring multiple services and resources together in a forward-looking and inviting environment for all students. The gift is a continuation of Franklin's long-standing support for the University Libraries.

"On behalf of Penn State University Libraries, I extend sincere gratitude to the Honorable Barbara Hackman Franklin for this special gift," said Dean Nancy L. Eaton. "Our new Knowledge Commons will allow us to keep pace with the information needs of Penn State students as their learning and research incorporate traditional materials with technology-rich multimedia resources. The gift will provide resources needed to re-envision the existing space for collaborative study and projects. It will ensure that Penn State's Libraries continue to be a 'great library for a great university' well into the 21st century.

"Since 1996 when the Libraries began an oral history project, 'A Few Good Women: Advancing the Cause of Women in Government, 1969-74,' Ms. Franklin has been an important supporter of the Libraries. This latest act of generosity demonstrates her ongoing commitment and shared vision for the goals of Penn State Libraries."

After graduating with distinction in 1962, Franklin went on to earn her master's degree in 1964 at Harvard, where she was one of the first women graduates of the Harvard Business School and from which she has received an Alumni Achievement Award.

Franklin maintains strong ties with Penn State through service and philanthropy and has served as a Penn State Trustee. In 1972, she received the Distinguished Alumni award, the highest honor Penn State bestows on its graduates. Five years later, she was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow, the most prestigious honor given by the Penn State Alumni Association, of which she is a lifetime member.

"I owe so much to Penn State and am thrilled to be able to give something back to a university I dearly love," Franklin said.

President and chief executive officer of Barbara Franklin Enterprises, a private investment and consulting firm headquartered in Washington, she is a respected advocate for and adviser to American companies doing business in international markets, notably China, and a widely acknowledged expert on corporate governance, auditing and financial reporting practices.

As the 29th U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, Franklin achieved a major goal -- increasing American exports -- with emphasis on market-opening initiatives in China, Russia, Japan and Mexico. Altogether in her career, Franklin has served five presidents.

Franklin has been a director of 14 public companies and is currently a director Aetna and Dow Chemical. She is chairman of the National Association of Corporate Directors, chairman emeriti of the Economic Club of New York, a director of the U.S. - China Business Council and a regular commentator on international economic matters and corporate governance on the PBS Nightly Business Report.

A Lancaster County native, Franklin is married to Wallace Barnes, retired chairman and CEO of Barnes Group.


  • Barbara Hackman Franklin

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated November 18, 2010