An Odyssey of Reform Initiatives: The Back Story

Courtesy of Rick and Sue Rothstein

It was about 18 years ago when I was winding down a campaign for Systemic Engineering Education Reform that I finished reading the book Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University by Jim Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University of Michigan.
Duderstadt helped spread the word about my engineering education reform campaign to his fellow members at the National Academy of Engineering. Subsequent conversations with Duderstadt inspired me to initiate a campaign to Reclaim Academic Primacy in Higher Education that, in turn, led to contacting Notre Dame's Fr. Hesburgh to ask if he would consider writing a Foreword for my "Reclaiming" brief. The campaign also led to my affiliation with The Drake Group. Jon Ericson, Linda Bensel-Meyers, Dave Ridpath, and Allen Sack.
Reflections, 2016-2019, a sequel to my Odyssey book provided a summary of my thinking as I was moving beyond my 89th birthday. An excerpt of The Drake Group’s related press release can be accessed at this website.
Of note is that the last essay in the sequel, “An Ongoing American Tragedy in Higher Education: Where is the Outrage and Where Are the Governing Boards?” prompted an inquiry that ultimately led to a Lifetime Achievement award by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. The occasion was the SPIE Awards Ceremony on February 4, 2020 at the Photonics West 2020 Symposium in San Francisco. The award was presented by Northwestern University Professor Manijeh Razeghi and accepted on my behalf by my niece Sarah Gitter. A PDF of the transcript of the related acceptance remarks is also accessible on this website.

Reflections, 2020-2021, provided a continuation of my reflections with pieces on Covid-19, U.S. politics, baseball memories, my wife Judy, and an expanded photo gallery

Reflections, 2016-2021: The sequel to An Odyssey of Reform Initiatives is a reformatted capstone combination of the two previous sequels with a link to a video that portrays my March 3, 2021, interview by Carla Slawson, the executive director of the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation. The video can be accessed at <>.


Arthur J. Schmitt, a man of special genius, founded the Fournier Institute of Technology with the aim of rendering graduates with strong leadership capabilities.  Thus, as a 1952 graduate of the Fournier Institute, the interview was focused on my work in the areas of research & development, marketing, administration, education, college sports reform, and public service.

The writing of Reflections, 2020-2021 was inspired by the Schmitt Foundation interview as was the publication and distribution of Reflections, 2016-2021: The Sequel to An Odyssey of Reform Initiatives. Both the Odyssey book and its capstone sequel can be accessed via this website.

Perhaps after reading Reflections, 2016-2021, some might feel that a special dose of outrage is required after they come to know the brutal truth about college sports. However, it is a sad reality that many, if not most, Americans have become numb to abuse, cheating, and corruption in their churches, businesses, and government. The upshot is that the book will likely not give rise to a special dose of outrage, but rather, could very well be taken as just another story in an ugly catalog titled "Who Cares?." The Drake Group under the leadership of Donna Lopiano, its current president, works to make sure that the latter scenario won't be the case.

Frank G. Splitt
September 24, 2021

Courtesy of Anne Rassas
Taking part in the July 20, 2021, Reflections, 2016-2021 book presentation at the Town of Plum Lake Public Library in Sayner, WI, were from left: library volunteer Ida Nemec, Splitt grandson Adrian White, daughter Anne White, author Frank Splitt, son Frank Splitt III, librarian Emilie Braunel, and library volunteer Jennifer Heitz.
This photo was taken on November 9, 2016, at the downtown campus of Loyola University - Chicago (LUC). The occasion was the formal presentation of the book, An Odyssey of Reform Initiatives: 1986-2015, to the LUC Library as a memorial to the late Arthur J. Schmitt, founder of the Fournier Institute of Technology, Frank Splitt’s alma mater. Pictured (from left to right) are Judith Splitt, Frank Splitt, Patricia Shevlin, Executive Director of the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation, Michelle Nickerson, LUC Professor of History, and Patricia Mooney-Melvin, Dean of the LUC Graduate School.


Courtesy of Kevin Leonard

A copy of the book and the CD are now part of the Distinctive Collections at the Northwestern University Archives. A related photo from the April 19, 2017, ceremony celebrating the presentation of the Odyssey book to the Northwestern University Libraries, pictures (left to right): Judy Splitt, Manijeh Razeghi, McCormick School Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Center for Quantum Devices, Kevin Leonard, University Archivist, Frank Splitt, a former McCormick Faculty Fellow, and Carol Simpson Stern. School of Communications Professor of Performance Studies, a former dean of the Graduate School, and a past president of the American Association of University Professors.