Catalyst Magazine

Visionary Donor: Carolyn B. Frenkil Honored for Decades of Support Across UMB

From left, UMB President Bruce Jarrell, former School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, Carolyn Frenkil, and current School of Medicine Dean Mark Gladwin celebrate Frenkil’s generosity to UMB.
From left, UMB President Bruce Jarrell, former School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, Carolyn Frenkil, and current School of Medicine Dean Mark Gladwin celebrate Frenkil’s generosity to UMB.

University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) leaders, supporters, and friends gathered Oct. 16 to honor Carolyn B. Frenkil, a member of the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc. (UMBF) Board of Trustees as well as the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Board of Visitors and a longtime advocate and supporter.

Speakers at the event recounted Frenkil’s generosity, vision, and boundless dedication to UMB, UMSOM, the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), and beyond.

Richard L. Taylor, MD ’75, FAAN, a member of the UMBF Board of Trustees and the UMSOM Board of Visitors, described Frenkil as someone with the distinctive ability to not only recognize problems but also envision the solutions, a trait that sets her apart.

“She has the uncanny ability of being able to see things that need improvement,” Taylor said. “And not only that, she would turn around and donate the money to accomplish it.”

Taylor said Frenkil’s story echoes the wisdom of late actress Audrey Hepburn, who once said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, noted that Frenkil and her late husband, James “Jimmy” Frenkil, MD ’37, were instrumental in backing substantial initiatives that have benefited numerous individuals over the last 40 years. They also generously supported numerous smaller projects that have made a profound difference in the lives of those requiring assistance.

“Carolyn, we are here to celebrate you,” said Jarrell, adding that her impact extends beyond the walls of the University, touching the lives of countless individuals and transforming their futures.

“I got to know Carolyn about 20 years ago. We had seated yet another freshman class, and one of the students got very sick. Carolyn came up with a way to give this young lady a scholarship,” said Jarrell, highlighting the transformative power of this single act of generosity that changed a life. He went on to say that Frenkil’s contributions extend beyond financial assistance, as they play a vital role in shaping the futures of individuals.

“Carolyn is a force for good. It’s wonderful to have you as part of our community,” Jarrell said. Frenkil’s vision, values, and moral compass have become guiding lights for the institution, he added.

A Diverse Impact on UMSOM and Beyond

UMSOM Dean Mark T. Gladwin, MD, who also is vice president for medical affairs, UMB, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, spoke of the diverse impact of Frenkil’s contributions. Her support, he said, touches every corner of the University, from student scholarships to capital projects, leaving an indelible mark on the institution.

“You have made the city better for all that you have done,” added Gladwin, acknowledging Frenkil’s role in the larger community.

Frenkil’s support has also extended to UMSON. “I want to thank you for your commitment to nursing, to our students, and to our community programs. Your investment in UMB has been transformational, and I appreciate all that you have done for the School of Nursing,” said Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD, NNP, FNAP, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Michael E. Cryor, chair emeritus of the UMSOM Board of Visitors, praised Frenkil’s unparalleled generosity and ability to connect with people on a deeply personal level.

“I’ve thought of Carolyn as someone with a giving heart,” agreed E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, former UMSOM dean and University executive vice president.

Ellen H. Yankellow, PharmD ’96, UMBF vice chair and trustee, added, “Your generosity is phenomenal. It’s not just your generosity in giving; it’s your generosity with every human that you encounter from your heart to others.”

Throughout the event, Frenkil’s commitment of time to improve programs across UMB was noted.

“Carolyn, you are one of my favorite people and one of the most generous friends the medical school and all of UMB has ever had. Giving not only funding but of your time, your ideas, and your heart all with attention to execution and to filling needs that might not immediately be seen by other people,” UMBF Board of Trustees Chair Harry C. Knipp, MD ’76, FACR, FACHT, said in prepared video remarks.

An Opportunity to Become Better

Larry Pitrof, executive director, Medical Alumni Association, noted that Carolyn and James Frenkil’s gifts over the years have served as opportunities to greatly improve the institution.

“If you were to ask Carolyn what these were, they were an opportunity for us. They weren’t handouts, they were an opportunity for us to become better at who we are as an institution. And I hope, Carolyn, that we’ve upheld our end of the bargain,” Pitroff said in prepared video remarks.

David L. Stewart, MD, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UMSOM, spoke of Frenkil’s support for his department, emphasizing the warmth and welcome she brings to those who visit.

But Frenkil’s journey has not just been about the accolades and gratitude, it’s also about her own sense of fulfillment. As she stated: “I’ve seen so many things happen here that make me proud to be a part of something.”

All present at the event agreed that Frenkil is a beacon of hope, a driving force for change, and a true embodiment of the power of giving.

“Carolyn gives of her time, Carolyn gives of her energy, she gives of her thoughts,” said Jay A. Perman, MD, chancellor, University System of Maryland, and former UMB president. “I want to express my gratitude on behalf of the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the entire system.”

To learn more about Carolyn and James Frenkil’s legacy of support to UMB, watch this video.

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Joanne Morrison

Joanne Morrison is the senior director of marketing and public relations in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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