Do Something Good. Give.
An interview with Chris Froelich ‘76 by Molly Jordan ‘25
Hounds with Purpose is a space for alumni to share their stories of purpose and vocational engagement beyond their years at Assumption. This blog is created by the Center for Purpose and Vocation and the Career Development and Internship Center (CDIC) to better connect students and alumni through experiential storytelling.
In Fall 2022, students in the SOPHIA Program enrolled in the comparative literature course CLT 255 The Figure of the Seeker, taught by Prof. Esteban Loustaunau. A class assignment asked students to conduct interviews with alumni who had similar academic interests when they were in college. In these interviews, SOPHIA students, committed to discerning their own callings and to seeking a life of purpose, were interested in listening to the life stories of alumni in order to learn from their experiences since their time at Assumption, make new connections, and to find inspiration in their wisdom. We are happy to share these experiences with the blog readers.
Chris Froelich ’76 is President of F & Z LLC, a travel and restaurant-related consulting company in New Jersey. At Assumption, he graduated with degrees in History and education. In honor of his family’s five-generation commitment to the medical profession, Chris made a generous gift to Assumption University to name the School of Nursing The Froelich School of Nursing. With his financial contribution Chris honors his family’s dedication to providing unsurpassed and compassionate medical care and also supports the education of future nurses. Chris serves on the Advisory Board of the Froelich School of Nursing.
Molly Jordan ’25 is a SOPHIA Program Collegian with a major in nursing at Assumption’s Froelich School of Nursing. She is from Leominster and plans to be a RN working in a cardiac ICU. Eventually, Molly hopes to continue her education and become a nurse practitioner. On campus, she is involved in SOPHIA, the Student Nurses’ Association, and is a student leader for Campus Ministries SEND service immersion trips. Molly works as an Admissions Ambassador on campus.
In this interview, Chris talks with Molly about the many lessons he learned from his family, about the importance of happiness for understanding the true meaning of success, about the lessons learned through failure, and about how generous giving can become a gift to the giver.
Molly: My first question for you is how do you define success?
Chris: I think it is different for every single person, it’s unique in an individual term “success” because what is successful to me is not to you and vice versa. But when I think of success, I think that it has to include happiness. While people might think of monetary success, I think of success as someone who is happy; they are successful.
Molly: Me too, I absolutely agree with you. Another question that I would like to ask is who is your hero?
Chris: My hero… my immediate thought is my father. He was a very calm and thoughtful person, he had great humor, always slid in a sarcastic remark, and he was a family man. He was dedicated to his wife, to his family and to his profession. In terms of the word hero, he is maybe the only one I really point to and think about as a hero.
Molly: Mine would probably be my father as well, he has given up a lot for me to be where I am today, and he does so much for all of us, so I would think of my father, too.
Chris: I think that’s a great thought that he gave up a lot, that’s very true, they (parents) give up a lot, my father gave up a lot. But every aspect of his life was about his family and his profession. But his profession and his family were always together. In my entire life, I never heard my father say that “he was going to work.” He was a doctor and there was no work and life, there was just life. He never separated the two, that’s how he lived. It was a part of his life, it was never a job or work, it was his life and that was very unique to him. Not many people can integrate their profession with every aspect of their life, but he did.
To learn more about Chris’s father way of integrating the personal and the professional into his life, watch Parker Palmer’s Life on the Mobius Strip, from his book
A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life.
Molly: What would you say, if you have one, is your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
Chris: I have had failures in business and I think I’ve learned from them. Everyone talks about the wins you know? I’m kind of 3 for 5. I’ve had 3 wins and I’ve had 2 losses, large ones you know? You learn from the failures. The one thing I’ve learned from the failures is that it’s important to know who you are in business with and I am not pointing fingers, but it was a part of why those 2 businesses failed. I didn’t connect with someone else in the business and we were not in sync. The ones I was successful in, we were all in sync with the people and the ownership group. From my failures, I’ve learned you have to be very careful who you do business with and you have to have a connection.
Molly: That makes sense, if you have one idea on how to run something and someone else has another, then you are not going to jive with one another. As a follow-up question, I would like to know what brought you to our nursing school, what made you decide that you wanted to fund our program?
Chris: Well, that goes back to my hero, back to my father. He taught us about family and friends, and giving back and it was something I had the opportunity to do first of all. You know, I am blessed, I have been successful enough to be able to do something like this. And you make choices and I told my daughter “I could have a big house on Ocean Avenue, or I could do this thing with the nursing school and to me, there wasn’t even a choice. What do I need that for when I can help someone over here? It was kind of a no-brainer for me because of my family. I have 5 generations of medical professionals. I’ve got them all around me, surrounding me, which is beautiful and we need nurses. My daughter is a NICU nurse and they just don’t have enough nurses, they can’t get enough help. My older sister is a nurse and my younger sister is a doctor. Although they are in different areas, every single area needs it. The nurses are the ones who really deliver the healthcare and service, they deliver the goods at the end of the day. For me, I saw the opportunity, we had discussions about it, and I was driven by my daughter, my family, and my dad.
Molly: That is incredible, I just want to say thank you again for everything that you do.
Chris: You know when I was at the dedication, someone said something about “Thank you for the gift” and I look at it like it’s a gift that gives to me every day. I can wake up every day and feel good about it. It gives to me, I did not know that I was going to get that positive energy, but it’s a positive force in my life that I didn’t have before and it really feels good. I was just happy and blessed to do it. You always want to think that you are helping and doing something good. This gives me juice and pleasure and I know I’m doing something good.
Celebrating the dedication of the Froelich School of Nursing in September 2021.
Molly: If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Chris: Well this relates to my failure, and it would be the business lesson I learned; to do business with people you know well and the right people. I would tell myself that. I would have avoided my 2 swings at the bat that I missed if I told myself that.
Molly: Why did you choose to study at Assumption?
Chris: Do you want the real answer? It’s kind of a crazy story, we didn’t have the internet when I was looking at schools, and I didn’t go visit a single school. I had in my mind and I’m not sure why but I had in my mind that I wanted to go to a small school in New England. I sent away for brochures and I applied to 3 schools; Assumption, Saint Michael’s, and Saint Anselm’s. They were small, Catholic schools in New England. I didn’t know anyone that had gone to Assumption, I knew someone who had gone to Saint Anselm, but only one person. So I went and I got the brochures and I’m sitting at my dining room table with three brochures trying to decide what school I want to go to. I flip through the Assumption catalog and there’s this picture of all these people dancing in a bar on campus and they looked like they were having fun, so I said, “that’s where I’m going.” It looked more lively and alive and Assumption looked fun.
Molly: I have a similar experience, with COVID and everything I was only able to tour two schools in person, and I never saw Assumption in person until after I was accepted, and even then it was a drive-through tour and I could not get out of the car.
Molly: What was your favorite class you took at Assumption?
Chris: Not even close, I took a Greek and Roman mythology course and for some reason I just dove into and loved it. Ancient Roman and ancient history I loved it. I just gobbled all of it up. Dr. Sheeran was our professor and anything he taught I would take. He was one of those legendary teachers, he’d make it come alive. He had a way of talking and describing and you felt like you were there.
Molly: My favorite class was a human genetics and heredity class and I was the same way, I ate it up. I could sit there and do it all day. Theology would probably be a close second which surprised me.
Molly: I want to thank you again for your time today, and it was lovely chatting with you!
Chris: Thank you!
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