The daughter of an American diplomat, Frances Donnelly Wolf, born in Brooklyn NY, grew up abroad, living in Iran, Germany, France, Pakistan and Great Britain. Frances is an oil painter, drawing inspiration from the written word in both poetry and prose. Her work is shown in galleries and museum exhibitions throughout Pennsylvania.
Prior to her work as an artist, Frances has had a rich professional career. She worked in the Consular section of the American Embassy in London where she reviewed visa applications for visitors to the United States. She was also a market researcher at Cahners Publishing Company, currently known as Reed Business Information, in Boston where Frances and Tom lived as he pursued his doctoral studies at M.I.T. She reviewed the placement of advertisements in the company’s publications and analyzed their effectiveness to their readers. Returning to Tom’s hometown, Frances joined Buchart Horn, a leading engineering, architecture and planning consulting firm based in York, Pennsylvania. Here she specialized in securing and planning for water distribution and wastewater systems for communities both in Pennsylvania and beyond.
Frances has been actively engaged in the civic life of her York County community where she has focused on issues concerning urban redevelopment and education. For several years she volunteered extensively in the public schools her and Tom’s daughters attended, eventually organizing and heading a young author’s workshop for elementary school students. Frances has held leadership positions on the boards of the York County Community Foundation; the York County Planning Commission; York’s Martin Memorial Library; Atkins House, a halfway house for female offenders; the York Jewish Community Center; the Women’s Giving Circle of York; and Franklin & Marshall College.
Frances earned a BA in South Asian History from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, England. She has taken graduate planning courses at Boston University and architectural design courses at the Boston Architectural Center. She holds a second BA from Franklin & Marshall College in Studio Art and History of Art. Frances also earned an MA in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College where her thesis focused on three paintings by Diego Velazquez.
Frances became the 45th first lady of Pennsylvania when Tom was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 47th governor on January 20, 2015.
Frances and Tom live in his hometown of Mt Wolf. They are the very proud parents of two grown daughters, Sarah, an architect and Kate, a geologist and son-in-law, Jamie, a property developer.