Texas Tech University

Mary Frimpter Franklin Alumni Profile

Marky Franklin Texas Tech Home Economics AlumnaCollege of Human Sciences (COHS) alumnus, Mary Frimpter Franklin graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in Vocational Home Economics Education, now known as Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FSCE). During college, she was well recognized for her academics and athletic ability as part of the Texas Tech University women's swim team. Today, she is better known for her work on the Child Development Center at the Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base, Germany and her service to the American Red Cross.

"I choose Texas Tech to attend the College of Home Economics, one of the top 3 programs in the country at the time. Being able to continue to swim competitively was a bonus."

Mary's academics and extracurricular activities earned her the honor of being listed in Who's Who In American Colleges and Universities and the first recipient of the Outstanding Senior in the College of Home Economics Award.

After a successful college career, Mary worked in Vocational Education in upstate New York alongside her husband who served in the United States Air Force (USAF). In the early 1980s when he was assigned to NATO Base Geilenkirchen in Germany, they moved to the German-Dutch border.

There, Mary became a director for a childcare center that served both British and American military families in the Netherlands, which gave her the opportunity to attend several US Army childcare-programming trainings.

"Wherever I traveled in Europe, I checked out the local Army or Air Force base child development center for ideas in management, programming, food service, and design. I was gathering ideas."

Inspired by what she had seen, Mary worked for NATO to develop the management plan and programing for the Geilenkirchen Child Development Center. She worked with translators, contractors, and the senior Germany military doctor on base regarding employee physicals and safety features of the facility.

Mary Franklin Texas Tech AlumniShe wrote a grant to secure funding for the center's programming and materials. She even became a Red Cross First Aid and CPR Instructor so that she could train the staff. After all her hard work, the center was a success. It won an award for its design from the USAF and has since expanded to a second location.

"It was truly a unique challenge. My degree was extremely helpful in everything I did in connection with establishing the Geilenkirchen Center."

Even when Mary and her family returned to the states, she continued to apply her degree in home economics as a Red Cross Instructor. For 43 years she taught health and safety courses, and now she trains and mentors new instructors and instructor trainers in academies across the country.

"It is thrilling to hear from people I have mentored as they describe the challenges and successes they have faced. I know I have touched the lives of others. There is a ripple effect in training others to teach."

Mary enjoys teaching in a non-traditional classroom. Last summer, she was offered the chance to train the next generation of Red Cross Instructor Trainers in Myanmar. Most of the training was taught through a translator, so her and the other instructor had to come up with a way for the participants to conduct teaching activities in their own language.

"Even though I use the same training materials, no two classes are alike. Each class challenges me to empower each participant to use life saving skills or to train others."

She has recently accepted a leadership role within her Red Cross Chapter as a Board Member. From establishing the Geilenkirchen Center, to teaching instructors in Myanmar, Mary continues to find impactful ways to apply her education.