Vision and generosity: They are the virtues Howard S. Frank ’63 prizes in others and cultivates in himself.
The vice chairman and CEO of Carnival Corp., who earned an accounting degree from URI, credits the University with cultivating the leadership and communications skills that would help launch him to the top of his industry.
Frank’s pledge of $250,000 to create the Mary and Howard Frank Endowed Scholarship Fund ensures that a new generation of students in the College of Business Administration will have the foundation needed to achieve similar professional goals. Frank, who spearheads several philanthropic endeavors in both his professional and private life, sees his charitable giving as a means of repaying the kindnesses extended to him throughout his life.
“I feel the need to give back to my community and my school for the support they gave me. For me, that’s important,” Frank says. “I enjoy helping others to succeed. Supporting people who have helped you, who have been loyal to you, it’s what I take great pleasure in.”
Under Frank’s 19-year stewardship, Carnival has become a global vacation business with 12 cruise lines employing more than 75,000 people. It is the most profitable company in the leisure industry, serving seven million guests annually. Frank’s ability to lead was honed early, when he was a member of the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi. There, Frank says, he gained a reputation as a “pragmatic problem-solver.”
A 2007 recipient of a University of Rhode Island President’s Distinguished Achievement Award, Frank’s philosophy on leadership is grounded in sensibility.
“I’m a regular guy. Part of being successful is being who you are,” he says. “I think people respect that. You get people’s attention when you talk in plain language. When I talk in front of an audience, I do it in an informal conversational way. This style is really quite effective.”
Dean of the College of Business Administration Mark Higgins said Frank’s gift reflects both the pragmatic and philanthropic aspects of its donors.
“We are extremely grateful to Howard and Mary for their generous contribution,” Higgins said. “They understand the value of education and that the success of this state is tied to being able to educate as many people as possible. This gift provides the opportunity for students to get that education.”
To the students who will benefit from his gift, Frank’s advice reflects the pragmatism his fellow fraternity brothers noted more than 40 years ago.
In talking about advice he gives to young people starting out in their careers, “It’s important to know what drives you, what makes you happy,” he says. “Do what you enjoy doing and do it well. The rest will come. “
By Marybeth Reilly-McGreen