Education and personal
Dr. Trani was born on November 2, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York. He received a Bachelor of Arts in history, with honors, from the University of Notre Dame in 1961. In 1963, he was awarded a Master of Arts in history from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in American history in 1966. While in graduate school, he served as a grading and teaching assistant from 1961 to 1964, held a Fellowship in 1964-65 from the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University, and was elected to membership in Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society.
Dr. Trani was elected to permanent membership in the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, in 1979. Through its meetings and publications, and the activities of its 3,000 individual members, the Council has played a major role in shaping American foreign policy over the last half century. Dr. Trani is also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London; Phi Kappa Phi; the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies; the Organization of American Historians; and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He has served as a consultant and outside evaluator for a number of university presses, journals, and governmental and grant-awarding agencies, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1989, he served as an advisor to the Governor of Louisiana and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on the organization of the higher education systems in those two states. In 1991, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond. In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from St. Petersburg University, Russia.
He married Lois Elizabeth Quigley in 1962, and they have two children, Anne (born in 1963 and a graduate of the University of Kansas) and Frank (born in 1964 and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law). Mrs. Trani is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.