Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) is pleased to
announce The Bette Patrick and Thelma McCrackin Memorial Scholarship, endowed by President Tara McCrackin and her husband John McCrackin in honor of their
mothers, Bette Patrick and Thelma McCrackin.
Created in June 2021, this endowed scholarship is anticipated to be available to students
for the 2025/2026 academic year. To be eligible for the award, an applicant must be
a full- or part-time undergraduate student enrolled in KCAD, with a minimum GPA of
2.5. Applicants must also submit a 400- to 500-word essay demonstrating how they serve
or aspire to serve as a leader in their chosen design or fine arts discipline. This
may include how their leadership benefits the environment or people locally, regionally,
or beyond, and applicants should demonstrate a passion for this work and recognize
the value of their efforts in their response. The award is renewable for up to three
years as long as the student continues to meet the criteria.
“KCAD is an enduring part of my identity,” says President McCrackin. “I am a Kendall alumna, I started teaching here in the early 2000s, and am now in
a position where we can give back and create this scholarship in perpetuity. I’m really
honored to have this platform to make change for an institution I care passionately
about. This is one way I can give back and support students.”
President McCrackin ('97, BFA Interior Design) attending her KCAD graduation with
her mother, Bette Patrick, father, and grandparents.
Asked why they chose to honor their mothers through this award, John says, “Our mothers
were the wind under our wings. My mother was a Depression Era kid. The primary goal
was to put food on the table when she was growing up.”
Tara adds, “Without the support of these women, we wouldn’t be in in the roles we
are today. Our parents focused on providing our education. It is because of this
focus, and the support from both my mother and mother-in-law, that we are able to
give back and support future students in their educational journeys.
The McCrackins chose to focus the award on student leadership in areas like sustainability,
social justice, the environment, and other critical issues the world faces today.
Whether they are leading in the KCAD community, a student group, their home communities,
or the community at large, Tara says, “Leaders amplify their own voices and the voices
of others. They’re passionate, and they create change. That’s what we want to encourage.”
While many other scholarships require a student to earn a grade point average of at
least 3.0, the McCrackins purposely set their requirement at 2.5. “What we wanted
was to not create a barrier,” explains President McCrackin. Instead, her goal was
to attract a large pool of student leaders and give them the opportunity to be recognized.
President McCrackin sharing feedback and support for students in KCAD's Interior Design
John said the decision was also informed by an experience recruiting interns early
in his career. After interviewing eight or nine candidates, his coworker asked if
he thought any of them stood out. “I suggested one whose GPA was high, but he pointed
to another candidate who was working 20 to 30 hours a week and carrying 17 credits.
This person was someone who had a schedule and while not earning a 4.0, was balancing commitments and managing time. That made a lot of sense to me.”
The McCrackins are eager to begin a new tradition of honoring their mothers by supporting
the next generation of student leaders at KCAD. “This college is part of the fabric
of Grand Rapids,” says John. “We want to see the institution grow, and this is our
way to contribute.”
Through the generosity of countless KCAD alumni, friends, and employees, KCAD is proud
to offer scholarship opportunities that alleviate the burden of cost and empower our
students to make the most of their education. With your help, we can continue moving
toward our goal to make KCAD accessible for all by increasing the number of donor-supported
scholarships available to our students.
If you've been considering giving the gift of scholarship, now is the perfect time
to get involved: through June of 2023, all gifts to the KCAD General Scholarship Fund will be matched
dollar-per-dollar through the Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge, doubling your
support. Learn more about how you can make an impact at KCAD: kcad.edu/giving.