Frank Wezniak— 2002 Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award
Frank Wezniak guided the finances of the Institute for nearly sixteen years, during times of great fiscal challenges as well as through times of gratifying growth. The Institute is delighted today to acknowledge that it has greatly benefited from his wise and innovative stewardship, and to recognize with this award his extraordinary accomplishments.
Frank's association with the Institute began on a rainy October day in 1985 when Artemis Joukowsky and then-President James Wiseman called on Frank at his home in Weston, Massachusetts. The visitors were hopeful that they would be able to persuade him to apply his famed financial acumen to helping the Institute rise from a financial situation so serious that its future existence was in jeopardy. Frank was impressed with the mission and prestige of the Institute, and, after looking closely at the operations and finances of the Institute over a period of several weeks, decided that he might indeed be helpful. He was elected to his first term as Treasurer that December, and immediately set out to build on wise changes in fiscal policy already set in motion by his predecessor as Treasurer, James H. Ottaway, Jr., and by Trustee Malcolm Wiener. Budgeting and accounting procedures were altered to ensure that expenditures reflected the specific goals of the operational units (publications, lectures, headquarters, and other programs) of the Institute, as determined by the officers. In those difficult times, a number of temporary steps were taken by the President and the Board, acting with Frank Wezniak's guidance, to cut expenditures and to stop the eroding of the endowment. Even within the same fiscal year (1986), the deficit was reduced to a fraction of what had been anticipated, and the endowment actually increased in value. In the next fiscal year, after eight years of deficits that totaled a million dollars, there was actually a surplus, which marked the beginning of a remarkable string, rarely interrupted, of balanced budgets, surpluses at the ends of the year, and a growing endowment.
Frank Wezniak understood that sound financial management required clear goals for the different operating units of the Institute, and equally clear methods and schedules for achieving those goals, whether financial or institutional. This was a central facet of his financial management during his extraordinary tenure as Treasurer, during which he worked with four successive presidents. He also served on special Task Forces and Planning Committees, whose deliberations shaped and clarified the immediate and longer-term aims of their successive deliberations. During the Institute's most recent financial challenges, in the course of the worldwide economic downturn, Frank performed heroically, abandoning some earlier cherished goals in recognition of fiscal reality, and negotiating highly favorable terms for the Institute as it withdrew from direct responsibility for a publication it could no longer afford.
The Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award of the Archaeological Institute of America recognizes volunteers who have furthered the work of the Institute and have improved its effectiveness through their sustained exceptional service. The Institute is pleased to present this year's award to Frank Wezniak, in recognition of his many years of service as the innovative, wise, and dedicated Treasurer of the Institute.