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Salute to Club Founder, Wharton Awardee: Dr. Armand Weiss

Perhaps more than any other Club member,
Dr. Armand Weiss's life and accomplishments mirror those of
Penn's Founder, Benjamin Franklin

If, in addition to the Joseph Wharton Award, our Club had a Benjamin Franklin Award, Wharton Club of DC Founder and Joseph Wharton Recipient, Dr. Armand Weiss W’53, WG’54, DBA, George Washington Univ., would be its first recipient. These are a few of the many similarities between our founder and dear friend Armand and Ben Franklin:

Each played a seminal role in one or more notable organizations and activities. Franklin founded Penn, as well as many other notable institutions. In Armand’s case, 1967 was the year when he, together with three other Wharton MBAs, founded this Club. Three years later, as the second President of the Club, Armand founded the Wharton Award Dinner, which celebrates its 36th Birthday this year, and no other Wharton Club out of 80 clubs worldwide can hold a candle to this record. Perhaps the only person to attend all 36 of these dinners, Armand was also a founder of what is now the Wharton Alumni Association, reaching over 80,000 alumni worldwide.

Both men were writers and editors who analyzed vital issues, often with great wit. Franklin’s notable efforts included Poor Richard’s Almanac and The Pennsylvania Gazette, now the name of Penn’s alumni magazine. Armand has been the author or editor of many books, journals, and articles in management science. He was the founding editor of the first newsletters in cost-effectiveness and the largest circulation publications in the world in operations research and management science.

Franklin was a notable swimmer, starting in the Charles River in his childhood home in Boston. Armand has won eight medals, including one gold, in the Senior Olympics in swimming, discus, basketball and softball competitions.

Government service, and even espionage to serve our nation, marked each man’s life. Franklin’s efforts, both public and undercover, were critical in winning our freedom and in the early days of our republic, and his diplomatic efforts in France and elsewhere were justifiably legendary.

Armand began his public service in the U.S. Navy after obtaining his Wharton MBA, concluding there as Special Assistant to the Navy’s Auditor General. He went on to positions in various high level think tanks and public posts, including work under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan. For example, he was co-founder and coordinator of our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve and coordinator of the massive Project Independence Report. For his three years as a double agent for the U.S. and Soviet Union during a critical phase of the Cold War, Armand won a major FBI award and was, together with his team, featured in the bestseller, Spy vs. Spy. As to France, Armand has had an occasional glass of French wine and has visited that nation many times without creating the rumors occasioned by Monsieur Franklin.

Franklin’s entrepreneurial efforts led to profitable ventures as printer and postmaster. Thirty years ago, Armand began Associations International, Inc., an association management company that has served over 300 nonprofit and for-profit groups. On behalf of its clients, AI has been a big customer of the Postal Service.

Ben Franklin’s community service was multi-faceted, including beginning the Free Library of Philadelphia. Armand’s efforts have that dimension as well. An Eagle Scout with Palms, he has been a Scoutmaster for troops in the U.S. and Japan, a leader at a World Scouting Jamboree in France, and was President of Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia’s largest membership Jewish Temple. He has served on the boards of orchestras, sports groups, and cultural organizations. For six years, Armand has been Administrator of The Daniel Heumann Fund for Spinal Cord Research, and is also Treasurer, Quest for the Cure, a consortium of many spinal cord injury groups.

Franklin received much well-deserved praise for his diverse efforts. Armand, too, has earned awards and had many other notable achievements. He received our Club’s Wharton Award in 1991, its first and only Lifetime Service Award in 2003, and George Washington University’s Distinguished Service Medal. He been elected as a Fellow of prominent scientific and other groups, including the Washington Academy of Science, which he served as President.

A final note on Armand from this much-abbreviated c.v.: Born in Richmond in 1931, he lived there until he entered Penn. He received both his Bachelor’s and MBA from Wharton, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from George Washington University. Armand has been married to Judy for 47 years. They have two children, Jo Ann and Rhett, and five grandchildren.

But in at least one sense, Armand’s family is much larger. It encompasses all 400 plus members of the Wharton Club of DC, who he continues to serve, and 80,000 Wharton alumni worldwid, who benefit from his efforts to strengthen our bonds to our School and to one another.

This is our salute to our compatriot, and a great American patriot in the finest sense of those words, Dr. Armand Weiss!