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Carl Franklin Dedicates Library Garden to His Late Wife, Carolyn

by Melissa Payton

USC vice president emeritus Carl M. Franklin relaxes in the garden named for his late wife, Carolyn. Franklin gave USC $600,000 for construction of the garden and courtyard north of Doheny Memorial Library.

Photo by Irene Fertik

For 40 years, Carl M. Franklin and Carolyn Franklin were a power couple at USC. He was a law professor, chief financial officer and then general counsel. She was active in the Faculty Wives Club and Town and Gown. Together they raised more than $100 million for chairs, professorships, scholarships, buildings and equipment at USC.

Since Carolyn Franklin died in 1993, Carl Franklin, now vice president emeritus, has given $2.2 million to USC in his wife’s name and written a book about their life together. The new Carolyn Craig Franklin Library Garden Courtyard just north of Doheny Library is the latest manifestation of Carl Franklin’s devotion to the memory of his late wife.

The compact courtyard – framed by date and fan palms, with benches, boxwood hedges, a brick walkway and a burbling fountain – was finished last November in time to commemorate what would have been Carolyn Franklin’s 82nd birthday. It provides a restful counterpoint to the new Leavey Library Plaza at the opposite, north end of the McCarthy Library Quad completed last summer.

“It is a great pleasure for me and our four children – Craig, Sterling, Larry and Priscilla – to honor Carolyn by providing this lasting memorial to her, in addition to our previous gifts for her professorship and scholarships in law, and her scholarships in Town and Gown,” Franklin wrote to President Steven B. Sample.

The garden’s location is appropriate, Franklin said, because Carolyn Franklin had a master’s degree in library science and was a junior college librarian. A plaque will be installed and a dedication ceremony held soon.

Along with the $600,000 gift to build the garden, Franklin also gave USC $50,000 to establish the Carolyn Craig Franklin Endowment for Campus Beautification, in honor of another of Carolyn Franklin’s interests. In recent years, Franklin has given USC more than $400,000 in trust for campus beautification.

When the endowment grows to $1 million, the annual income will be available for campus beautification projects – especially for Carolyn’s library garden, the McCarthy Quad and the areas next to Town and Gown, the Katherine Loker Institute, Law School and Anna Bing and Eileen Norris theaters.

“Carolyn’s cheerful advice to her family and friends was ‘Take time to smell the flowers,’” Franklin said. “Like the eloquent words of Thomas Jefferson about his own love of flowers, Carolyn was also a ‘young gardener’ during her long and memorable life.”

Carl Franklin Dedicates Library Garden to His Late Wife, Carolyn

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