Achievement Award in the Liberal Arts, 2013


If you’ve found yourself searching for colleges with your kids, and no one can make a choice, you probably haven’t paid enough attention to Robert Franek. He devotes his professional life to finding the answer.

His own high school counselor in Sparta, New Jersey, recommended Drew, but Rob had already succumbed to The Forest’s appeal in 1986 at a lecture series on AIDS and HIV. He speaks enthusiastically about Frank Occhiogrosso’s and Wendy Kolmar’s teaching, and the way in which Drew’s Improv Comedy Group trained him to speak on his feet with passion and humor.

Spending the spring of his senior year The London Semester meant that Rob had not found a job before graduation. To his relief, a friend in the Drew Bookstore referred him to a job as associate director of admissions at Wagner College. After six great years there, he learned that the Princeton Review was looking for a publisher with admissions experience and a sense of humor—a perfect match.

Rob began at the Princeton Review in 1999 as web producer and director of guidebook publications, and his responsibilities and expertise have multiplied over the years. He is now the senior vice president for publishing and content, responsible for the company’s retail books, including their annual surveys of colleges, business schools, and law schools; for their online presence; for research and development, publishing, and public relations. He is their chief expert on all college, graduate and professional school admission guidance. He is a national speaker on college, testing, and financial aid topics at college and high school campuses, bookstore events, and educational conferences. He is frequently a speaker with the media including many television appearances, particularly with NBC, where he has appeared on the Today Show regularly for the last ten years. He suspects that he has visited more college campuses than any other person on the planet!

Rob is a superlative spokesman for higher education. A rapid-fire, authoritative speaker, he exudes optimism about the college experience and the way in which the Princeton Review’s publications can lead students to the right fit. And he does not neglect his opportunities to promote Drew and convey his deep affection for his alma mater.

A major development in Rob’s life is his marriage in January of this year to his partner of 12 years, Mario Lopez-Cordero. Rob is proud of Mario’s career in Hearst publications and his first novel, Monarch Season, which was published early this summer. Rob and Mario live in Manhattan, where Rob founded Sweet City Tours and conducts their historical walking tours. He is also in a running club, volunteers in several GLBT organizations, and keeps in touch with many Drew friends.