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Frances Paganini ’74

FrancesPaganini-large Frances Paganini ’74 was a woman ahead of her time. In her late 50s, Frances returned to college as a sophomore at Holy Names College and completed her bachelor’s degree in speech therapy.

After graduating from high school Frances attended Stanford University for one year. At her mother’s request, she left Stanford and worked in the business world in San Francisco. Fourteen years later she returned to Stanford for five quarters and completed most of her general education courses.

By this time, Frances had married Newell Cummings, who was in the Navy. Their travels took them around the country and beyond but in 1962 they settled in Marietta, Ohio, where Newell was named the controller at Marietta College.

When she and Newell moved to Berkeley, California, in the 1960s, Frances was ready to complete her college degree. She attended an extended education course at the University of California that encouraged students to “think” on paper. These “thoughts” led her to the well-established speech therapy program at Holy Names College where she worked with Sister M. Paul Francis, her advisor and mentor. These were happy times until Newell died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack one year after Frances started at Holy Names. After completing her degree in 1974, she was introduced to Revilla Wright, the director of the audiology and language department at Children’s Hospital. Frances worked for Revilla, assisted with testing the children, and joined others who held fundraising events for the hospital.

Nearly three years after Newell’s death, Frances reconnected with long-time friend Bud Paganini. They were married, moved to Marin, and in 1979 Frances was confirmed as a Catholic. With this marriage she “inherited” a wonderful family: her stepson, David, and her granddaughter, Gina.

After Bud died in 1999, Frances was encouraged to establish a charitable remainder trust. As she reflected on potential beneficiaries for the trust she recalled her alma mater. Because she desired to give back to the institution that gave so much to her, Frances named then-Holy Names College as a beneficiary of her trust. Frances recognized the importance her college education played in her life and believed in providing for the University’s long-term financial planning and ongoing success. As a member of the Marie-Rose Durocher Legacy Society, Frances wanted to ensure that a new generation of students would be fully prepared to enter into the world they have inherited and to change it for the better.