Mann, Jacobs receive annual Harris Award

Husband-and-wife team dedicated to advancing educational, civic and cultural life in St. Louis

Frank Jacobs (left) and Marylen Mann with Chancellor Wrighton
Frank Jacobs (left) and Marylen Mann, who received the 2018 Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award during a Feb. 9 luncheon at Harbison House, pose with Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. (Photo: Sid Hastings/Washington University)

St. Louis is teeming with selfless citizens dedicated to ensuring that a thriving cultural, civic and educational environment exists for the entire community, including such generous philanthropic leaders as Marylen Mann and Franklin A. Jacobs. Together, their efforts in support of successful aging, education, entrepreneurship and health care have enriched the lives of countless not just locally, but far beyond our region.

To recognize their extraordinary contributions to their hometown, Mann and Jacobs are the 2018 recipients of the Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award at Washington University in St. Louis.

On Feb. 9, Mann and Jacobs received the award at a Harbison House luncheon surrounded by family and friends and hosted by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Risa Zwerling Wrighton. Also present were Michael Loynd, chair of the award committee, and Eugene Harris, son of Jane and Whitney Harris.

“I’m delighted to host this special event honoring a special couple, Marylen Mann and Frank Jacobs,” Wrighton said. “The impact of their philanthropic work, fueled by heart and hard work, has measurably improved the lives of many St. Louisans, and will continue to do so well into the future.”

Established in 2000 by a bequest by the late Jane Freund Harris, the annual award honors a husband-and-wife team who contributes in an outstanding manner to the culture and welfare of the metropolitan St. Louis area. Jane and Whitney Harris were known for their remarkable generosity, compassion and dedication, and wished to reward others who espouse this philosophy.

About Marylen Mann

Mann earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in education, both in Arts & Sciences, from Washington University. She later joined the Department of Education and the School of Medicine as a faculty member. In 2002, she received the Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2006, she received a Distinguished Alumni Award at Founders Day, and, in 2007, she helped organize the 50th Reunion festivities at Washington University’s Commencement.

In 1982, she founded Oasis, an organization that has played an instrumental role in improving the lives of St. Louis’ older adult population for the past 36 years. Today, the organization works in 40 cities and reaches more than 50,000 individuals each year by promoting successful aging through lifelong learning, health programs and volunteer engagement.

In 2003, Mann received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. Louis Older Women’s League, and, in 2006, she received the Impact Award from the AARP. She has received numerous other awards in recognition of her impact on the St. Louis community and her efforts to improve the quality of life for older adults.

About Frank Jacobs

After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Jacobs joined the U.S. Air Force. He served as a pilot for 10 years before receiving an honorable discharge with the rank of captain. He then founded and served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Falcon Products Inc. Headquartered in St. Louis, Falcon Products manufactures and markets furnishings for the food service, hospitality, health care and office industries throughout the world. Jacobs also is the co-founder of Landmark Bancshares in St. Louis and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the Advisory Commission for Trade Negotiations.

Currently, he is chairman of Jacobs International LLC, an international trading and manufacturing company. In 1992, Inc. magazine, Ernst and Young and Merrill Lynch named Frank “Entrepreneur of the Year” for his many professional contributions to industry. He also was named the 2002 “International Businessperson of the Year” by the St. Louis World Trade Center. In 2002, Jacobs joined Mann as a member of the University City High School Hall of Fame.

More on their civic contributions

Mann and Jacobs give generously to, and share their leadership expertise with, organizations throughout the St. Louis region. Jacobs is a founding board member of Stl250 and a lifetime director with the Oasis Institute. He has served on the boards of: the Opera Theatre of St. Louis; Webster University; The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital; Grand Center; the National Conference on Christians and Jews; the Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America; the Lewis and Clark Commission; the Jewish Community Centers of St. Louis; the Jewish Federation of St. Louis; and the St. Louis Regional Business Council (which he founded at the request of Sen. John C. Danforth). Frank also served as the chairman of the board of directors for the Missouri History Museum in 1998 and 1999.

Mann’s civic involvement outside of Oasis has included chairing the Advisory Council of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute for Public Health at Washington University. She was an initial advisory member of the Brown School at Washington University and has served on the school’s national council for more than 25 years. In 2007, she represented the United States at the United Nations Conference on Aging. She served on the Clayton School District Board of Education for 13 years, serving as chairman for three years. She also has served as a board member of the St. Louis Symphony, the Saint Louis Science Center and the Whitaker Foundation.

Together, Mann and Jacobs are longtime members of the university’s William Greenleaf Eliot Society.

In addition to receiving a beautifully inscribed crystal clock, Harris Award recipients are honored with a cash gift made in their name to the St. Louis-area charitable organizations of their choice. Mann and Jacobs have chosen four organizations to receive this gift: the Brown School; The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital; Lift for Life Academy; and The Oasis Institute.

For more information on the award and how to submit a nomination, email harrisprize@wustl.edu or call 314-935-6013.

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments. We also cannot address individual medical concerns or provide medical advice in this forum.