Marshall Weinberg, who endowed this prize in honor of Frankena, was an undergraduate major at Michigan in the late 1940's and early 1950's. He studied with Frankena and had great affection for him. After a year of Philosophy graduate school at Harvard, he transferred to the Columbia Business School. This led him to a long and successful career as a financial analyst in New York, where he lives a fairly simple life, reading philosophy, listening to music, traveling, and participating in a number of organizations he cares about and generously supports.
In establishing the endowment, Marshall Weinberg wrote:
"I still recall the fall of 1947, when I took my first course in this Department, Philosophy 34, Introduction to Philosophy with William Frankena. The room in the old Haven Hall was packed. A few minutes later a man walked in -- tall, dark, slender -- wearing a tweed sport jacket. He spoke with a deep and resonant voice -- slowly and clearly like a trial lawyer presenting his client's case. His client was Plato and his presentation was meticulous. The class listened eagerly. During the months that followed, he discussed Lucretius, Berkeley, Descartes, and others. He opened a whole new world to us. But what made him a great teacher was that he encouraged us to 'do philosophy', not just absorb it. Bill Frankena taught us the history of ideas. But he also taught us to think and to think rationally. That is the gift he gave us."
Mr. Weinberg found that he encountered many other-- a Professor of Pediatrics, a real estate lawyer, a counselor to senior citizens --, who similarly felt Frankena's influence. He established the endowment in gratitude for all that Frankena and Charles Stevenson, another great Michigan teacher, had done to enrich so many lives. The Frankena Prize is awarded for excellence in the concentration; the Stevenson Prize for excellence in a candidacy dossier.
Philosophy 34, which became Philosophy 234, was a staple of the introductory curriculum well into the 1990's.