Goucher College is proud to honor Frances Johnson Lentz, Class of 1945, with the 2019 Elizabeth Statuta Baker ’70 Public Service Award. We celebrate Lentz for her mental illness advocacy and her role as a social worker, an honor well deserved for someone so humble and dedicated to helping others. Lentz is a fierce figure, someone who never dreamed small but dreamed for others through her everyday actions. She may not realize her impact on individual lives and the changing role of mental health, but we do.
Lentz helped create the Baltimore chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness
in the early ’80s with a group that grew from five people to 70 almost overnight. Her work to educate
people about mental illness stemmed from her own need for resources when her son was diagnosed with
schizophrenia at age 20. A lack of information surrounded mental illness at that time, which made it
difficult for individuals and families to know who to turn to for help and how they should best navigate
something so unknown.
Even today, doctors and health professionals are performing research to understand mental illnesses
better while advocates continue to reverse the stigma. The work that Lentz dedicated herself to has
contributed to these efforts and to the progress evident across the U.S. as well as Goucher College, which
has doubled its efforts to provide students with counseling services.
While at Goucher, Lentz earned a full-tuition scholarship in her senior year and then pursued her
master’s in social work at Smith College. Lentz worked for a year before having four children and then
resumed social work after her children were all in school. She did what she could to help others, knowing
that she couldn’t fix the world’s problems. The best she could do was listen to others and help them find a
way to their own happiness. Thank you, Frances, for working as you did, not for an award but for a desire
to leave the world just a little better, a little lighter, than when you found it.
The Alumnae & Alumni of Goucher College (AAGC) recognizes Frances Johnson Lentz with this award
for her excellence in public service.