Richard Frank, Professor of Nursing

Richard FrankNeither of my parents  graduated high school. My father received his GED in 1962, he was 30. He worked for State Farm Insurance for 35 years. My mother received her GED in 1982, age 48. She practiced as an LPN for 21 years. They imbued in me the quality of perseverance.

I have three siblings. My older sister was a hairdresser/beautician. My older brother tried college in the early 1970s, dropping out in his third year. Robert, the youngest at seven years my junior, discovered higher education wasn’t for him after a year of so of community college.

I am the first in my family to graduate from college. I began in 1975, majoring in psychology. I went to Yankton College in South Dakota. It was known for two things then: Lyle Alzado, former NFL player; being on Playboy magazine’s list of the top 10 partying small colleges in the US. I never met Mr. Alzado, but I became intimately familiar with the school’s party status. This was why my studies were put on, shall we say, “hold” in 1978. English Novelist Aldous Huxley wrote “Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions, it is walled and roofed with them”. My hiatus from college was a result of these good intentions. It lasted until I enrolled in Castleton State College’s nursing program in 1999.

Nursing course work is challenging but I persevered. That is, until my next to last semester when circumstances lead to my withdrawal. Perseverance being my family legacy, I finished some psychology courses while awaiting readmission. By now school was work, neither easy, sometimes very hard, nor a lot of fun. But I could see the benefit of finishing. Graduating with my nursing degree in 2002 was a milestone. I had finished something that I had begun! Now an albatross around my neck; that unfinished psychology degree I had started in 1975. Finally, in 2008 I collected my BA in psychology from Castleton State. Done. Finished. Check that one off the Bucket List! 

Dr. Terry Bergen, professor of psychology at Castleton, asked me early in 2008 “where are you going to graduate school?” “Nowhere”, I said. He persisted. Sometimes it takes another person to tell you your destiny, and Bergen was that person in my life. I enrolled in Drexel University’s Nurse Education Master degree program that fall, and completed it in December of 2010; a full term early.

At Middlesex I see my story replayed every day. Everywhere the legacy of perseverance is implemented by immigrant students, second/third career students, and those starting over. I see the drive, the fatigue, the burning desire for a better life though a better education. This is what is so endearing. So inspiring.


Name: Richard Frank

Department: Nursing

Title: Assistant Professor

What do you do on campus? I teach in the Full Time (day) Nursing Program on the Lowell Campus, and clinical instruction in Lowell.

Campus location: Derby 406


Phone number: 978-656-3450

Last Modified: 7/27/18