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The Arnold Franco Prize for Writing in History


Thanks to a generous donation by alumnus Arnold Franco (class of 1943), the History Department at Queens College is able to award an annual prize in his name to the best example of historical writing by a student for a given academic year.  


The requirements for a paper to be considered are few: 1) it must be submitted to the chair of the department by October 1, and 2) it must have been originally written as part of a History class at the college in the prior fall or spring semesters.  Revised and edited versions of course papers are permissible and are, in fact, encouraged.  There are no length requirements, and students may submit more than one paper.  Both majors and non-majors are eligible, as are Master’s students.


Winning paper(s) are selected by a committee of faculty members in the History Department.  In order to receive the award, the student is required to attend a luncheon in his/her honor, which usually takes place in late October or early November.


About Arnold Franco


Arnold Franco graduated from Queens College in 1943 in the midst of World War Two.  

Owing to his
expertise in languages, he was chosen to serve in a code-breaking division of U.S. military intelligence in England during the height of the war.  He was later stationed in Paris following its liberation and continued his work in radio communications for the military (at a time when the Eiffel Tower itself was put into service as an antenna!). 

Mr. Franco has written a book about his experiences in the War titled
Code to Victory: Coming of Age in WWII, which is available in the Queens College library.



Back from Europe, Mr. Franco built a successful business in Manhattan, but he didn’t forget his alma mater in Queens.  

In addition to establishing the fund from which this prize is drawn, he has supported various other initiatives that engage History students in active research.  For example in 2006, he commissioned the research, design, and construction for a memorial to Queens College students who died in World War Two, which now stands at the base of the flagpole at the top of the quad, overlooking the same stunning view of the city that he used to admire as a student


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