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School & Program Updates

The Elaine M. Frank Endowed Fellowship Fund Established to Support COMD Doctoral Students at South Carolina

Dr. Robert L. Frank has gifted  South Carolina University Arnold School of Public Health  $100,000 to establish an endowment in memory of his wife, Dr. Elaine M. Frank. Commemorating the life and contributions of Dr. Elaine Frank, who retired from the South Carolina’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2013, The Elaine M. Frank Fellowship Fund will support COMD doctoral students with annual fellowship awards. Dr. Robert Frank has donated an additional gift of $2,000, which will be distributed to an outstanding COMD doctoral student in the fall and allows his generosity to have an immediate impact.

[Dr. Robert L. Frank and Dr. Elaine Frank]

First as a student and then as a faculty member, Dr. Elaine Frank had a strong connection to The University of South Carolina for nearly four decades. The three-time USC-COMD alumna earned dual master’s degrees in audiology and speech pathology in 1976 and a doctorate in communication sciences and disorders in 1988. After a decade in the field of speech pathology, she joined the COMD department as an assistant professor in 1991.

Her research expertise focused on neurological disorders, such as stroke, dementia and brain injury in children and adults. Dr. Elaine Frank served as COMD chair from 1999-2012, and her leadership was instrumental to the department’s growth and success. She received Professor Emerita status when she retired in 2013 and maintained her steadfast support of the COMD department.

“I wanted to set up a lasting memory for what Elaine has meant to many people—her many contributions to her patients, colleagues, and family and friends,” says Dr. Robert Frank. “She was the type of person who walks into a room and has that magnetic personality. People wanted to talk with her because she had not only the knowledge, but she was very encouraging and motivating to help people reach their goals. She could see their potential and then help them reach that potential.”

With this gift, Dr. Robert Frank hopes to extend Dr. Elaine Frank’s unique impact—on both students and the clients they serve—indefinitely. “With this endowed scholarship for doctoral students, we are striving for what Elaine always wanted for her students—helping them do the very best they can do,” says Dr. Robert Frank. “Whether as a clinician, researcher, or administrator in the field, I know she would want to support the pathway the doctoral student would want to pursue.”

Among the many overlaps in their life together, Robert and Elaine Frank shared a passion for the health sciences in both their professional and personal lives. With five University of South Carolina degrees between them, establishing The Elaine M. Frank Fellowship Fund at their alma mater was a natural fit. As the nexus of Dr. Elaine Frank’s many years of leadership, service, and friendship, the COMD department was another easy decision.

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