Frank M. Henry’s Philanthropy Transformed Wilkes’ Campus Over Decades
Frank M. Henry’s generosity impacts every Wilkes student every day.
Student-athletes and alumni feel pride when stepping into the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Gymnasium. Each day, hundreds of students, community members, and faculty and staff members visit the Henry Student Center.
This June, Henry will join the ranks of some of Wilkes’ most distinguished and influential supporters when he becomes the fourth recipient of the President’s Medal, the University’s highest honor. Henry will be formally thanked and honored at the Founders Gala 2017 on Saturday, June 3.
President Patrick F. Leahy counts it a personal privilege to present the President’s Medal to Henry.
“There are few people in our history that have been more loyal to Wilkes than Frank. This goes back decades. His interest in Wilkes and his backing of Wilkes have been sustained over many years, which is very powerful given that he is not himself an alumnus,” says Leahy. “This speaks to the fact that he sees in Wilkes a really important mission and one that he wants to support. He has been a steady, encouraging presence, to the University administration and to the Wilkes presidents for 40 years. That’s why he’s deserving of our President’s Medal.”
Henry appreciates that Wilkes was founded to provide a quality education to students who couldn’t afford college or were the first in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree – a fact reflected in the University’s mission.
“Wilkes [meets] a great need for local people and for people who are from out of the area who are looking for a small school that has a very personal interest in their students,” says Henry. “I think that’s very hard to find in today’s world.”
As a local businessman and philanthropist, Henry focuses on the greater Wilkes-Barre community. Since 1964 he has owned and operated the Martz Group, a Wilkes-Barre bus transportation company started by his grandfather in 1908.
“My allegiance is to Wilkes because it’s local,” says Henry. “I just hope I can do some good for Wilkes.”
Leahy says Henry’s loyalty to Wilkes underscores his community commitment.
“I think Mr. Henry appreciates what Wilkes University means to Wilkes-Barre, to northeastern Pennsylvania and, increasingly, to the country. He is not himself an alumnus, but because his business is here, he’s appreciated what Wilkes means to its various communities,” says Leahy. “He understands the community impact Wilkes has, and he has made Wilkes one of his top philanthropic priorities as a result.”
Henry’s dedication to Wilkes is reflected in both his leadership and his philanthropic contributions. He is a member of the board of trustees and served as its chair for multiple years. The Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Gymnasium was named in May 1990 to honor Frank and his late wife. The Henry Student Center was dedicated in November 2001.
Henry takes pride in improving student life through his generous donations and looks forward to continuing to work with University leadership to meet future needs.
“I’ve known each president well. I take great faith in what they tell me they need and what they’re planning on doing,” says Henry. “I have a very close affinity to the administration and the direction that they’re heading.”