In the Spotlight: Marc Frankel

Alexis Apfelbaum

Marc Frankel’s friendly swagger and natural charisma lend themselves towards the creation of the typical Colgate student. Like most students, Frankel has a thirst for knowledge and a dedication to his community. A Russian major, going for honors and a self-described “polyglot” – he is fluent in four languages – Frankel is always eager to embark on new journeys. Add to the mix Frankel’s sardonic wit and vocabulary words the size of freight trucks, and this “archetypal” Colgate man is anything but typical.

As a member of SOMAC, Frankel can be seen zooming across campus to the scene of an emergency. Though Frankel considers his volunteer work a large time commitment, it has proved to be “highly rewarding.” In the end, “it’s nice to know that on someone’s worst-day-of-their-life, you are there to help them,” Frankel said.

One can also catch Frankel on the squash court, where he has been wielding his racket like a pro since his sophomore year. “For the past two years,” Frankel exclaimed, “we have won the National Championship in our Division. And that, that is the way to play squash.”

But it is Frankel’s extensive travel and desire to explore the world outside Colgate that distinguishes him as a true Renaissance man. During this past winter break, Frankel traveled to Birobidzhan, a town in Eastern Siberia, where he lived among and researched a small community of Jews dwelling in this snow-covered land. “I was mugged by gypsies,” Frankel said, “but it wasn’t the first time.”

His love of traveling has taken him to over 25 countries, including a semester in Prague and an extended study to China. Last year Frankel traveled to St. Petersburg to present a paper in Russian, on different perspectives of international business at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute. Indeed, he and his friends have set themselves a goal: “we’re going to travel to every continent at least once.” Including Antarctica? “Definitely including Antarctica.”

A finalist for the Watson Fellowship, which will award him a one-year grant to research and travel on an independent study, Frankel seems calm about his future. Quoting his favorite television show Seinfeld, he maintains that the “best way to get somewhere you’ve never been is to not know where you’re going.”

Frankel enjoys the journey much more than the destination, and with journeys that have taken him across the globe, who wouldn’t?