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Alumnus Franks named Pillar
Sturgis man receives Pillar of Success award
ANGOLA — Trine University honored Lawrence “Larry” Franks of Sturgis, Mich., with its Pillar of Success Award at its 15th annual Touchstone Donor Recognition Dinner Oct. 7.
The event recognizes donors and honors alumni for their contributions of time, service, management and resources to the school.
Before revealing that he won the award, university president Earl D. Brooks II explained that the award recognizes individuals for their achievements, leadership, service, philanthropy and commitment to their community, profession and the school.
As Brooks concluded his brief speech, the lights dimmed, and a video of pictures of Franks throughout the years began to play. When the lights came up, the 200-person crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Franks graduated from Tri-State College (now Trine University) in 1959 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Shortly after graduation, he started his career as a design engineer with Burr Oak Tool and Gauge Company Inc.
In 1960, he stepped up to sales engineer. In 1963, he became vice president, and in 1985 he assumed the role of president of the company. Today, he is a member of the company’s board of directors.
During his time at Burr Oak Tool and Gauge, he was granted 10 U.S. patents. His inventions have resulted in machinery and tooling that are used to make evaporator and condenser coils for the air-conditioning industry, Brooks explained.
Franks has consistently support Trine University. In 1981, Franks received a distinguished alumnus award. He has been a member of the board of trustees since 1984 and was named the board’s chair in 1999.
“His recent contributions have included strong leadership and significant capital campaign support. He also is leading the way by co-chairing the campus planning committee effort of our board of trustees that has resulted in over $65 million worth of capital and physical plant improvements over the last five years,” Brooks said. “His leadership, contributions and presence are felt each day on our campus.”