Who was Robert Frank and what is the Robert Frank Award?

Bob Frank was a World War II bomber pilot who became a technical writer and teacher after the war.  He and a friend started Valley Illustrators & Publishers, a technical communication company that employed many of our members and strongly supported our profession.  He contributed much of his spare time to the support of Chicago Chapter.

In 1967 the chapter hosted an STWP (predecessor to STC) international conference.  Although the conference was a huge success, many of the chapter leaders and members devoted their time and energy to the conference instead of the chapter.  As a result, the members were shy about running for office or volunteering to do any of the work of the Chapter during the year we were gearing up for the conference.  Bob stepped up and became chapter chairman (now president).  Bob’s term (1966-67) was difficult, and he, almost single-handedly, ran the chapter and kept it going until new leaders could take over.

After Bob’s untimely death a few years later, in 1974 the chapter created the Robert G. Frank Award to recognize chapter members who approach the level of dedication and effort that Bob Frank demonstrated.  He showed a selfless dedication and degree of effort that served as an example to us all.  This award has come to be comparable to the Society’s Associate Fellow recognition and is certainly the highest chapter award that can be given.  A list of the 39 previous recipients of the Frank Award can be found on the Chicago Chapter website.

Although a member of the Chicago Chapter is not chosen every year, a committee of past recipients reviews possible candidates each year.  Only the most deserving members are chosen to receive the Robert G. Frank Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of technical communication, as well as to the Chicago Chapter and to STC.

Any STC Chicago member who knows of a chapter volunteer who exhibits a high degree of dedication over many years can recommend that person to the Robert Frank Award Committee.  Generally, current officers are not chosen while they are still in office. If you know of someone deserving for the 2018 award, please submit your recommendation via email to before December 1st, 2017.


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