Frances Kralosky Dice (’68, Allegheny) is a pioneer. After graduating high school in 1966, she took a chance at becoming part of a new, unique educational concept in Pennsylvania—the Community College of Allegheny County. From her experiences as a student in CCAC’s inaugural class to her present responsibilities as assistant dean of Academic Management at CCAC, Fran has dedicated her life to increasing the seemingly endless opportunity provided through educational advancement.
Raised in the Pittsburgh-area communities of Bellevue and Brighton Heights, Fran came from a family that had always valued education and the educational experience. While in high school at the former Mt. Assisi Academy, she kept busy as co-editor of the student newspaper and member of the yearbook committee. She also held a part-time job working the front register at a Rhey’s Bakery located in the Pittsburgh Markethouse—two once-venerable institutions that have since become a part of local history.
In the twilight of her senior year of high school, Fran, like many high school seniors, began to think of her future, her next step and what kind of opportunities she could realize. Drawing upon her family’s values of pursuing an education—her father had gone to college, her brothers were going to college—she decided to research the numerous institutions in and around the Pittsburgh area.
Fran read about the state-level legislation forming CCAC and became very interested in what she describes as the “educational adventure” it provided. CCAC was recruiting its first class, and the very idea of a community college in Pennsylvania was entirely new. Fran went with a friend to pick up an application to CCAC, and thus began a life-long journey.
“CCAC was truly there for me when I needed it. Without CCAC, I would have worked and gone to night school, but CCAC was there, it was affordable, I could go full-time and I was excited to see where it would take me,” Fran said.
Fran attended the University of Pittsburgh after graduating from CCAC in 1968 with an Associate of Arts in English Literature. She remained friends with her fellow CCAC classmates who also went on to attend the university, which is where she met her future husband, Roger. Fran graduated Pitt with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and married that summer, beginning a life and career that would eventually lead her back to CCAC.
Fran lived in Charleston, WV, for nearly seven years, serving as the library clerk for the Kanawha County Library and as a vocational rehabilitation specialist for the Black Lung Institute. When she and her husband decided to move back to the Pittsburgh area, Fran applied to an opening at CCAC she noticed in a local newspaper. Her first position at CCAC was assistant director of Registration at CCAC?Allegheny Campus, a position she held for approximately two years.
While working at CCAC, Fran would receive both her MBA from Robert Morris University and a promotion to director of Registration in 1981, spending the next 24 years at CCAC?Allegheny Campus. In 1999, she became the college’s registrar, a responsibility she holds to this day, although her current title is assistant dean of Academic Management. Fran monitors curriculum in her current position and is also the custodian of academic transcripts for all CCAC campuses.
During her time at CCAC, Fran has been awarded with the CCAC President’s Innovation Award (2009 & 2012) and the CCAC Faculty Resource Program award (2010). She will be honored at this year’s Legends in Leadership dinner—hosted by the CCAC Educational Foundation on April 18—with the Outstanding CCAC Faculty/Staff/Administrator award. Fran also recently received a proclamation from Allegheny County Council, recognizing her for her years of dedicated, unwavering service to both CCAC and her community.
When not at the college, Fran likes to use her free time to read and garden; however, free time can be quite limited. She spent 22 years as a founding board member of the Hampton Township Community Library. She resigned from the library’s board nearly five years ago to allow new members to participate in guiding the library’s direction and future, though she still attends many events. Fran also dedicates a portion of her time as a member of the fundraising committee for the Marian Hall Home personal care home, located in Bellevue.
Fran recognizes that she has spent a great deal of her educational/professional life at CCAC, an institution with which she always wants to be an integral part. And since CCAC has provided so much to Fran, she and her husband decided to give back by establishing the Frances & Roger Dice Scholarship, which was recently awarded for the first time last August.
Throughout her years at CCAC, Fran Dice has witnessed a wide array of changes, though some things, it seems, invariably remain constant. “Students today are a lot like the students in the first CCAC classes of the late 1960s. They are, as many of us were, first-generation students who strive for a higher level of education and who see [higher education] as a means to employment, and also as a pathway to a larger world.”
Fran’s advice to CCAC students and alumni alike is to experience CCAC for the wonderful opportunity that it is. She understands that attaining any degree can often times be a difficult task, though it will always be a worthwhile pursuit. Finally, Fran asks that all CCAC alumni remain a vital part of the college, stay connected with classmates, visit one (or all) of the CCAC campuses and always remain an advocate for CCAC.
Frances K. Dice