At a recent impromptu gathering in Miami, a half dozen of us sat around and discussed this. Not all of us had been friends, in fact, there were one or two alumni that barely knew each other. But sitting there with a glass of something late into the night, we all felt an immediate sense of comfort and familiarity with each other, like a family holiday without all the family baggage. Trevor Herden (’17) best described the atmosphere by observing “Franklin has built such a unique community that every time we get together it's like a therapy session.” It’s true; even a few years after graduating, there is still an instant sense of familiarity and camaraderie with Frankliners young and old.
It’s been both fascinating and encouraging to see where alumni have gone after graduation. As I watch the achievements of my fellow graduates and hear their stories, I am constantly struck by the marked difference between them and my friends and peers outside of Franklin. As we celebrate the 50 Years of Franklin, I hope this series of alumni interviews and profiles will help demonstrate what a special place FUS is, and what quality people it attracts and produces.
Franklin’s professors provide a phenomenally engaging and highly personal education that, for many alums, has made post-grad work, even at Ivy Leagues, boring by comparison. This education has equipped us to move freely between careers and fields, enabled us to pursue rewarding, meaningful work. It has made us comfortable in virtually any setting, in any country. It has helped us to communicate in other languages, to understand other cultures. It has left us with friends and contacts on almost every continent.
Franklin is a poster child for the enriching qualities of a Liberal Arts education, and the alumni profiled here are a testament to this. At a time when prospective families are concerned more than ever about value for money and job prospects after graduation, there are multiple examples here of alums who have been hired quickly after graduation, who have been able to take their pick of positions and who have been able to move comfortably between fields. Then there are qualitative improvements. As the star of our first profile explains, “Franklin made me feel comfortable with change, with development, with transformation, and with uncomfortable situations. I think that’s the most important lesson you can learn for the rest of your life.”
Above all, Franklin produces quality people who are caring, confident, capable, and even courageous. They are, mature, adaptable, proactive people who are actively making a difference in the lives of others. But at the end of the day, Franklin as an institution can’t claim 100% of the glory for each of these incredible stories. That’s because, as Trevor observed that night in Miami, “it takes a certain kind of person to go off to Franklin, and then stay through it all.”
It does indeed take a very special kind of person to go, to stay, and to thrive. Franklin is a place for the curious and ambitious, but fortunately, Franklin attracts those people and nurtures them. And in turn, they do us all proud.