Frances Mecklenburger Lehman (1919-2017) attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison before graduating from Northwestern University in 1940 as a Phi Beta Kappa economics major and earning an MBA in retail management in 1941 from New York University. She was the only woman in her class. After graduating, she held positions at the New York Federal Reserve and at Saks Fifth Avenue.
While at Wisconsin, Frances met her future husband, Elliot Lehman (1919-2016) (BA 1938 Journalism). They settled in Highland Park, Illinois, where she was active in community affairs serving on both the school board and the hospital board and the Highland Park League of Women’s Voters. To her work as a volunteer, she brought elegance, attention to detail, and exactingly high standards. A pioneer in philanthropy, she served for more than 30 years as President of New Prospect Foundation, which has provided generous support to innovative programs in community organizing, civil rights and progressive advocacy.