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Honorary Doctor of Laws



Background information is taken from the obituary notice in the Detroit Free Press, written J. Dorsey Callaghan; publication date unknown found in the University archive files. Dr. Leo M. Franklin graduated in 1892 from the University of Cincinnati where he was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa key. In the same year he graduated from the Hebrew Union College with the degree of Rabbi and became the pastor of Temple Israel in Omaha, Neb. In 1899 he moved to Temple Beth El in Detroit. In 1916 Dr. Franklin established the Jewish Student Congregation at the University of Michigan, the first organization of its kind to be formed in this country. When an effort was made to enact a law in the Michigan Legislature which would practically have put private and parochial schools out of business, Dr. Franklin campaigned vigorously and successfully against it. During this period he became perhaps the first rabbi anywhere to have spoken from the pulpit of a Catholic Church. Early in his ministry, Dr. Franklin brought together the various Jewish charitable organizations in Detroit. Eventually he welded them into the United Jewish Charities, out of which grew the Jewish Welfare Federation of Detroit. Dr. Franklin served for two terms as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and for a similar period as president of the Alumni Association of the Hebrew Union College. Among civic offices which Dr. Franklin held where those of commissioner of the Detroit Public Library, member of the board of the Detroit Symphony Society and trustee of the Civic Theater Group of Detroit. Dr. Franklin was one of the first directors of the World Union of Progressive Judaism and a member of the board of managers of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Dr. Franklin was one of the founders of the Round Table of Catholics, Jews and Protestants. Commencement, University of Detroit, June 8, 1923.

University of Detroit

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