The University Record, October 31, 1994


William K. Frankena

William K. Frankena, the Roy Wood Sellars Distinguished College Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, died Oct. 22 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. He was 86.

Frankena, an historian of ethics, came to the U-M in 1937 as an instructor and retired in 1978. His textbook Ethics, first published in 1963, has been translated into eight languages and is still widely used today.

Frankena was president of the Western Division of the American Philosophical Association in 1965–66 and delivered the prestigious Carus Lectures to the association in 1974.

“William Frankena was a towering figure both in moral philosophy and its history,” said Louis E. Loeb, professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy. “His research extended to the philosophy of education and social philosophy. He was known for his integrity, courage and forthrightness, and his dedication to the fundamental values of a university.

“He was a member of the Michigan Department of Philosophy for 41 years, serving as chair for a full third of that period. Faculty and students have benefited from his participation in the intellectual life of the department for an additional 16 years since his retirement.

“The department awards in his honor, and now in his memory, the Frankena Prize for Excellence in the Undergraduate Concentration.”

Frankena served as chair of the U-M department from 1947 to 1961. When he was awarded emeritus status in 1978, the Regents noted that “he is renowned for his learning in the history of ethics, a subject about which he is generally believed in the profession to know more than anyone else in the world.”

In addition to his other accomplishments, Frankena was chair of the Council for Philosophical Studies from 1965 to 1972, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Science.

He held visiting positions at Harvard University, Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Tokyo and the University of Washington.

Frankena was born on June 21, 1908, in Montana. He received a B.A. from Calvin College (1930), an M.A. from the U-M (1931), and an M.A. (1935) and a Ph.D. from Harvard (1937).

In 1934, Frankena was married to Sadie Roelfs, who died in 1978. He is survived by their two sons, Karl R. of Ann Arbor, and Mark W. of Alexandria, Va.; four grandchildren, and one brother.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Nature Conservancy, Michigan Chapter, 2840 E. Grand River, Ste. #5, East Lansing, MI 48873.

Patricia W. Rabinovitz

Patricia W. Rabinovitz, professor emeritus of social work, died Oct. 24 in Ann Arbor. She was 88.

Rabinovitz began her career at U-M in 1944 as a part-time lecturer. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1951, associate professor in 1954 and professor in 1959. She retired in 1968.

While at the U-M, she taught courses in social policy and helped develop a program in public welfare administration and a joint doctoral program in social work and social science. In addition, she was active in the National Association of Social Workers, Council on Social Work Education and American Public Welfare Association.

Rabinovitz also was a psychiatric social worker for the Wayne County Clinic for Child Study in 1932–39, social welfare administrator for the Wayne County Bureau of Social Aid in 1939–51, and lecturer at Wayne State University in 1946–51.

Born Nov. 15, 1905, in San Francisco, Rabinovitz received a bachelor’s in 1925 and a master’s in social work in 1942, both from Wayne State University.

She is survived by her husband, Sam Rabinovitz; son, Mark (Janet) Papworth; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son Robert Papworth.