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College History Fast Facts

James Buchanan (1853-65)

James Buchanan

James Buchanan's involvement with Franklin & Marshall College predates its formation. In 1842 Buchanan received an honorary law degree from Marshall College in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. From 1837-1852, he served as a trustee of Franklin College in Lancaster. Instrumental in the merger of Franklin and Marshall Colleges, Buchanan encouraged the purchase of land on the west side of Lancaster for the future Franklin & Marshall College. In 1853 he became the first President of the Board of Trustees of the new institution, serving until 1865. In addition, Buchanan donated money for the construction of Old Main and for the two literary society halls (Diagnothian and Goethean).

John Cessna (1866-94)

John Cessna


John Cessna, an active politician, served as speaker of the House of Representatives in 1851 and 1863 as well as attending the Forty-first and Forty-third Congresses. Cessna joined Franklin & Marshall College's Board of Trustees in 1857. A few years later he was elected vice-president; and, after James Buchanan retired from his position as President of the board, John Cessna was elected to replace him.

George Frederick Baer (1894-1914)

George Frederick Baer


George F. Baer entered the sophomore class of Franklin & Marshall College in 1860 but left his junior year to enlist as a Captain in the Union Army. He later became a lawyer and industrialist (in 1901 he was elected President of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company) but returned to Franklin & Marshall College as a benefactor. A member of the Board of Trustees for forty-two years, Baer served as President from 1894-1914. Baer showed much interest in the college curriculum and in raising the standards of the school.

William Uhler Hensel (1914-1915)

William Uhler Hensel


William U. Hensel, a Franklin & Marshall alumni, was active as both a student and trustee. He founded a college periodical, served on the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity executive board, and was one of the first men elected from Franklin & Marshall to the Phi Beta Kappa society. Hensel made many contributions to the college later in life as a trustee. He donated time and money for the completion of the gymnasium in 1891 and was instrumental in developing the library. During his twenty-five years on the board, he served as vice-president and as President (1914-1915). His career interests included journalism, law, and politics.

Benjamin Franklin Fackenthal, Jr. (1915-1941)

Benjamin Franklin Fackenthal, Jr.


A member of the board from 1899-1941, Benjamin F. Fackenthal served as President from 1915 until his death in 1941. The successes he achieved as an iron industrialist made if possible for him to donate over $700,000 to the college in forty-two years. His greatest gifts included endowing a biology professorship and funding the construction of Fackenthal Laboratories (1929), Fackenthal Pool (1931) and Fackenthal Library (1938).

Paul Kieffer (1941-1956)


Paul Kieffer



Paul Kieffer, one of the original Rhodes scholars, graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 1901. He went on to become a prominent New York attorney, and later returned to the college to serve as President of the Board of Trustees from 1941-1956.

William A. Schnader (1956-67)

William A. Schnader


A member of Franklin & Marshall College's class of 1908, William A. Schnader served as class president, editor of the F&M Weekly, manager of the football team, and President of Goethean Literary Society. He graduated salutatorian of his class and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. After attaining his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Schnader was later appointed Attorney General of Pennsylvania. In 1926, he was elected a trustee of Franklin & Marshall College and served as chairman from 1956-1967. Notably, Schnader Hall was dedicated to him in 1959.

Robert W. Sarnoff (1967-72)

Robert W. Sarnoff


Robert W. Sarnoff served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1960 until 1972. In 1967, he was elected Chairman of the Board. Sarnoff, former president of the Radio Corporation of American (RCA), opened Franklin & Marshall's radio station. Later, he was granted the honorary title of First Chancellor of the College.


Charles A. Siegfried (1972-1977)

Charles A. Siegfried

A 1930 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, Charles A. Siegfried went on to become chairman of the executive committee of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1972.

L. James Huegel (1977-85)


L. James Huegel graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 1938, where he belonged to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He then earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, after which he went on to a distinguished career as solicitor and counsel for several major railroad companies. He became the executive vice president of the Consolidation Coal Company Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Huegel served as a member of the Board from 1966 to 1985 and was elected Chairman in 1977. He made the initial motion for the college to become a coeducational institution and was responsible for the renovation of the Alumni House, (formerly the president's residence) which was renamed the Huegel Alumni House in 1985. The same year, Huegel was honored for his service to the college with the Alumni Medal. In 2002, Huegel was given an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Aaron J. Martin (1985-91)

Aaron J. Martin

Aaron J. Martin, class of 1950, is a Lancaster native. Upon graduation from Franklin & Marshall, Martin studied chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University, where he received a masters in 1952 and a Ph.D. in 1953. Martin extended his interest in chemistry research to E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. in the 1950s. Later, he created the F&M Scientific Corp., a manufacturer of gas chromatographs. The company merged with Hewlett Packard in 1965; and, in 1999, Martin was inducted into the Instrumentation Hall of Fame. Martin served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1998. In 1985, he was elected Chairman of the Board. Martin was largely responsible for the opening of the Martin Library of the Sciences in 1991. In 2002, he received an honorary doctor of science degree.

William G. Simeral (1991-94)

After growing up in Lancaster and graduating from Franklin & Marshall in 1948, William G. Simeral received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1953. After which, Simeral joined E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co. as a research physicist, conducting plastics research, and is now an internationally recognized leader in the chemical industry. Du Pont elected him as a director, senior vice president and member of the Executive Committee in 1977, and he became executive vice president in 1981. Before his retirement in 1987, Simeral served as vice chairman of the board and chief operating officer for Conoco, Inc., the Du Pont energy subsidiary. Though Simeral chaired the Board of Trustees from 1991-1994, he served as a member since 1972 where he chaired the finance committee. During this time, he helped to oversee the transition from internal to external management for the college's endowment. In 2002, Simeral received an honorary doctor of science degree from Franklin & Marshall College.

William E. Seachrist (1994-99)

William E. Seachrist


William E. Seachrist, Franklin & Marshall class of 1952, was elected in 1994 as chair of the Board of Trustees. He served as a member since 1972. An entrepreneur, private investor, and public administrator, Seachrist has held positions as president of Kent Industries, president and chairman of the board of Adven Tek Corp., and chair/CEO of Prodex Inc.

Doreen E. Boyce (1999-2004)

Doreen Boyce has served as a member of the board of trustees since 1982 and as Chair from 1999 to 2004. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh where she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in Higher Education in 1984 and the Bicentennial Medallion of Distinction in 1987. Boyce is president of the Pittsburgh- based Buhl Foundation, an institution that promotes educational advancement and social science research in western Pennsylvania. (excerpted from College Communications press release)

Dale F. Frey (2004-2010)

Dale Frey, a 1954 graduate of Franklin and Marshall served as a trustee of the College from 1991 to 2010 and was the Chair of the Investment Committee for a number of years. Frey, a 1950 graduate of Manheim High School, earned his B.S. in business and accounting from F&M in 1954. He went on to earn his M.B.A. from New York University in 1957 and embarked on a successful 40-year career with the General Electric Company. He retired in 1997 as Chairman and President of GE Investment Corporation. Frey has been active on a number of boards of directors, including the Aftermarket Technology Corporation, Community Health Systems, First American Financial Corporation, Praxair, Inc., Promus Hotel Corporation, Roadway Express, and USF&G. He served as chairman of the Cancer Research Fund for the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation. Frey and his wife, Betty Ann, fund the Frey Internship Program which supports the work of F&M students in the Manheim community. While Chairman of the Board, Frey oversaw the $50 million campaign for the Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building, the largest capital project in the College's history. Among the College's numerous accomplishments during his tenure were significant expansion of the faculty and the acquisition and development of the Northwest Gateway, a project that will extend the core campus by 50 percent. Dale received an honorary degree from the College in 2010. (excerpted from College Communications Press release)

Lawrence I. Bonchek (2010-2016)

Lawrence I. Bonchek

A trustee of the College since 2005, Larry has served as chair of the academic investments committee and vice chair of the advancement committee. His connection to the College began as the parent of Lisa Bonchek Adams '91. Longtime supporters of Franklin & Marshall, Larry and his wife Rita Bonchek, Ph.D., a psychologist, founded the College's Bonchek Institute for Reason and Science in a Liberal Democracy, which seeks to foster an appreciation for the importance of reason, skepticism and the scientific method in maintaining a liberal democracy. They also have made significant donations to build the Lisa Bonchek Adams Auditorium in Kaufman Hall, the Bonchek College House, and the Bonchek Lecture Hall in the Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building. Bonchek has had a distinguished career in cardiac surgery. A native of New York City, he graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, received his general surgical training at Yale-New Haven Medical Center and Vanderbilt University Hospitals, and completed his residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University. He was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1975. He was recruited to Lancaster General Hospital in 1983 to start its cardiac surgery program. The group he founded has performed more than 16,000 open-heart operations. He is a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database Committee, serves on the editorial boards of several cardiac journals and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Lancaster General Hospital. (excerpted from College Communications Press release)

Susan L. Washburn '73 (2016- 2020)

Susan L. Washburn

A member of the first cohort of women admitted to Franklin & Marshall College, Susan L. Washburn ’73 served as the first alumna to lead the board of trustees.  First elected to the board in 1995, Washburn is widely known and respected within the international higher education community.  As founding principal of Washburn & McGoldrick Inc., a strategic planning, development, marketing and governance consultancy based in Latham, N.Y., and as the former chair of the international board of trustees of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Washburn has worked with scores of colleges and universities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.  Adding to her bachelor's degree in English from Franklin & Marshall, Washburn earned a master's degree in management and marketing from Clarkson University and completed advanced study work at Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management.

Eric W. Noll '83, P'09 (2020-

Noll has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2008, serving since 2015 as the chair of the Finance Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. He also serves or has served on the Building, Grounds and Sustainability Committee, the Compensation Committee and the Technology Committee, among others. Noll chaired the College’s most recent Presidential Search Committee that brought President Altmann to Franklin & Marshall, as well as serving on the Presidential Search Committee that hired Daniel Porterfield. He served as Franklin & Marshall’s interim president for three months in summer 2018.

Noll lives outside Philadelphia, where he is the CEO of Context Capital Partners. During his career of nearly 30 years in financial services, he has worked at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Susquehanna International Group and as an Executive Vice President for NASDAQ and CEO of Convergex, a leading global agency broker/dealer. Active in civic matters and the arts, Noll served on the Equity Markets Structure Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission and currently serves as a member of the Board of Visitors of the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt University, where he earned his MBA. He also is chair of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and a trustee of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Noll was a double major in economics and government at F&M, where he also was a member of Phi Kappa Psi, the College Band and the College Republicans.