McCracken Bequest Yields More than One Million Dollar Gift to USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education for Scholarships

photo of Mr. McCracken

Future educators from Manatee County studying at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) College of Education will have access to even greater scholarship opportunities thanks to the bequest of the estate of Francis E. and Gaile McCracken. The gifts from the McCracken Estate will bring the lifetime total of their donations to nearly one-point-three million dollars ($1.3 million) to support future educators in Manatee County who attend USFSM. 

Francis McCracken (“Mac”) was born in Indiana in 1920, the youngest of seven boys and four girls. He entered training for the Air Force and was certified as a fighter pilot just after WWII ended. Francis attended Purdue on the GI bill, earning a BS in Agriculture and an MS in Education. His wife, Gaile, attended Ball State Teachers College and Syracuse University and taught high school social studies. Francis taught vocational agriculture in Indiana and agriculture and biology in Michigan. He was also adjunct faculty for USF.

Mr. and Mrs. McCracken retired at the age of 55 and enjoyed traveling to most countries around the globe. The couple had no children, and after retiring to Manatee County, lived modestly and invested carefully. In 2007, Francis created the McCracken Educator’s Scholarships at USF Sarasota-Manatee, and was proud to provide a legacy of financial support and access to higher education for Manatee County students attending USFSM. The scholarships contain both financial need and academic eligibility requirements.

When he died last August, Francis left a bequest in his will which added more than a million dollars in endowment to the existing McCracken Educator’s Scholarships Fund for students at USFSM.

“As dedicated educators, the McCrackens believed in the value of creating a steady supply of future teachers, as well as helping Manatee County students offset the rising cost of a quality education,” said USFSM’s Regional Vice Chancellor for Advancement Dennis Stover. “The McCracken Educator’s scholarships in the USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education ensure a wonderful legacy of generosity that will impact future educators and our region for many years to come.