The Fransons: "COY Couple" Builds on Solid Principles

Nov 08, 2022 – Marc and Marilyn Franson have built their success on a solid foundation.

Marc, Drake (IA), and Marilyn Franson, Loyola (New Orleans), have followed similar paths in developing their thriving careers and vibrant Deltasig connections. They grew up more than 890 miles apart, but through their educations and Fraternity involvement, they found common ground that helped them create a successful path together.


Marc: Learning Resilience Early

Marc grew up in Galesburg, Ill., a town of approximately 32,000 roughly an hour northwest of Peoria in central Illinois. He learned the invaluable lesson of self-reliance: “I didn’t receive an allowance, so from a young age, I ran a paper route every morning. In addition to teaching me about the value of a dollar, the job taught me a lot about people. Some paid their bill for delivery on time, some were a little slow to pay, and some never gave me any money.”

Marc ventured about three hours west from home to attend Drake University in Des Moines, which offers renowned schools of business and law, both of which would figure prominently in his career. Delta Sigma Pi also became a focal point of his college experience.

“My brother was a pharmacy major, and he became involved in Kappa Psi, a professional pharmacy fraternity,” Marc said. “He saw a lot of value in the relationships he built and the opportunities it provided, so he encouraged me to join a professional fraternity that matched my field of study.”

Marc was immediately attracted to the Delta Sigma Pi’s cohesive community. Because he was already pledged to a social fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, he viewed Deltasig as an excellent complement and avenue to professional development. He became Alpha Iota Chapter’s vice president-professional activities, and he played a key role in coordinating the chapter’s spring professional field trip in 1977. The most memorable part of the trip was visiting EDS Systems. EDS President H. Ross Perot was still more than a decade away from his Presidential candidacy, but his unique leadership style was on full display. Marc said, “He was fiercely opinionated, witty, and extremely articulate. Meeting him was an inspiration.”

Marc’s initiative and commitment earned him the 1977 National Collegian of the Year Award: “It was a tremendous honor to receive {COY}, and it was gratifying to have my efforts recognized. I worked hard in college to both get great grades and be involved on campus. I was student body president at Drake my senior year. It was nice to get the award recognizing these achievements, and it was humbling. It is great that Delta Sigma Pi recognizes people who are not just involved in the Fraternity, but beyond.  In life after college, the multi-dimensional aspect of balancing competing interests while still serving and contributing was an important lesson to learn.” 

Marc also earned his law degree at Drake, and parlayed his background and expertise into a position teaching in the business school as he earned his Juris Doctorate degree. He noted the ways in which business and the law complement each other: “Learning the law helps develop critical thinking skills, analytical abilities and negotiation expertise, all of which reinforces the business foundation and allow us to work practically with our organizations and clients.”


Marilyn: The Route North

Marilyn grew up in New Orleans, in a close-knit family where she was the youngest of five children. She grew up with a strong sense of responsibility. When she was three or four years old, a neighbor kid stole her brother’s Halloween candy. Marilyn made it her business to get it back. Her motivation and commitment to others continues to motivate her to excel in all things.

She earned her degree in accounting and finance, with summa cum laude honors, from Loyola in 1980. Her activity with Delta Nu Chapter included managing its Chapter Efficiency Index (now the Chapter Management Program) and serving as vice president-finance and chapter president. While at Loyola she also worked for a C.P.A. firm and at a medical collection agency. Beyond Deltasig, she was involved in the business school student government, the American Marketing Association, Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gamma Sigma, Blue Key, Cardinal Key, and University Fellows.

Marilyn was recognized as the 1980 National COY during the 1981 Grand Chapter Congress that took place on Mackinac Island, Mich. This was the first time Marilyn met Marc, who was a Regional Director at the time, and spending time together kindled a relationship. They even admit to sneaking away from a few Congress activities to spend more time together.  

After graduating from Loyola, she was accepted into Northwestern’s Law School, for which Marilyn trekked more than 900 miles north from the Big Easy to the Windy City. Marilyn had never been north of the Mason-Dixon Line before the Mackinac Island Congress. It was quite a change, with the Windy City climate being a particular eye-opener, including the shock of the cold winters!

Marilyn graduated from Northwestern Law cum laude while earning her Juris Doctorate. Marc moved to Chicago in 1983, and they married. And what better footing could they build a life upon than being the original Deltasig “COY Couple”?


Building A Life Together

Marc and Marilyn appreciate the opportunity to mentor future generations of Deltasigs. Despite the exterior trappings of new clothes, music and expressions, today’s collegians have the same fundamental needs of connection and belonging. And, in spite of the fiercely independent personas that Gen Zers present in the digital world, Marc noted that collegians he’s engaged are inquisitive and appreciate lessons provided by others.

The most important counsel they believe they can impart to younger Deltasigs is to be prepared and be flexible. Marc noted how the regulatory environment businesses face will continually change, and that it’s important to be knowledgeable about the rules that govern your business, and to understand how regulations and other factors could change your procedures.

Their wisdom has earned them each important roles within Delta Sigma Pi. Both Marc and Marilyn held positions on Executive Director Selection Committees; in 1995, Marilyn’s committee ultimately hired Bill Schilling as Executive Director and, more than a quarter-century later, Marc served on the Executive Director Selection Task Force that selected Jeremy Levine to direct Deltasig’s continuous improvement in meeting its goals and objectives. From 1994 to 1996, Marilyn also served as a Trustee for the Leadership Foundation Board. Marc has also recently advised Delta Sigma Pi’s Board on a review of corporate best practices. Their support of Deltasig also includes contributions of more than $25,000 to the Foundation.

A purpose-filled life doesn’t happen by accident. It requires building, layer by layer, with a well-considered plan for the end result. Marc and Marilyn Franson have been largely successful in crafting such a plan, and Delta Sigma Pi is grateful for their dedication to the Fraternity.


Marc’s Professional Journey

  • Drake University, instructor in College of Business Administration teaching courses in management, marketing, business law and business policy
  • Household International/Household Credit Services (now HSBC), vice president and general counsel functioning as the lead attorney managing acquisitions and legal functions that entailed operational, regulatory and compliance matters
  • Chapman & Cutter LLP, managing partner counseling statewide and regional lenders on all facets of secured and unsecured consumer-lending practices, such as credit cards, mortgages, home-equity loans, auto loans and other types of installment loans


Marilyn’s Professional Journey

  • Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young), tax attorney
  • Marsea Marine, controller
  • Hopkins & Sutter (now Foley & Lardner), partner and tax attorney
  • Armsted, vice president and senior tax counsel 


Photo captions

Top photo: Marc Franson, as a student at Drake (IA), earned the 1977 Collegian of the Year award.

Second photo: Marilyn Franson earned the 1980 Collegian of the Year awards as a student at Loyola-New Orleans.

Third photo: Marc and Marilyn with their daughter, Liz, at her graduation from the University of Chicago.

Fourth photo: A double dose of COY couples pose together: Marc and Marilyn with Missy and Jason Campbell.

  • Brothers of Delta Sigma Pi
  • Alumni