Throughout his life, Dick Brackin, ’55, has always taken an interest in helping others to earn their college degrees. Even in retirement, he continues to be an advocate for education.
As part of the “In Radiant Splendor Shine” campaign, Brackin and his best friend Carl Zehner, ’67, have established The Richard K. Brackin Scholarship to benefit students who are members of the Capital Equality Alliance Student Group in support of LGBTQ+ advocacy issues, those who wish to study abroad, or students who are attending Capital from other countries.
A native of Carrollton, Ohio, Brackin grew up on a farm and was the first person in his family to go to college. He worked his way through Capital University, starting out in the Office of Admissions, where he worked three years under former Director Jim Shultz, who he says was one of his mentors, along with then-Dean of Men Earl Papke and Wilbur Crist, conductor of Men’s Glee Club at the time.
After graduating with a degree in education, Brackin taught high school for a year before going to work as the editor of The Scio Herald. “Everything I’ve done, I thought I would do for the rest of my life,” he says. But when the call came from Shultz asking if he would be interested in returning to work for him, “I immediately said yes, simply because it was Capital,” Brackin says.
Zehner became great friends with him while working as an admissions representative at their alma mater. Recently, Zehner was looking for a way to honor his former boss and decided to establish the scholarship. “Capital University is the center of his life,” Zehner says. “I have such great love and respect for Dick. I just needed to do something to honor him. He’s been my best friend since 1967.”
Zehner marvels at his friend’s ability not only to take an interest in people, but to remember everything about them down to the smallest detail. “He loves people and wants to see them succeed,” Zehner says. By endowing the scholarship in Brackin’s honor, Zehner hopes “to encourage others to give to it. There are so many people that know Dick.”
Through the years, Brackin worked as an admissions counselor, assistant alumni director and director of admissions at Capital. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from Ohio University where he worked as assistant director of residence halls, director of orientation, director of bachelor of specialized studies, assistant to the dean, and director of the Ohio University Hong Kong degree program.
“I never intended to get faculty status,” Brackin says. “I always wanted to work directly with students.”
He says Shultz was the one who encouraged him to go to graduate school, which created other opportunities for him.
“I loved the feeling of being helpful to new students through the orientation program,” he says. “I still have contact with some of the students I advised. My entire some 50 years in education, I focused on students.”
He says he has encouraged students to live abroad as part of their education. “My experience in southeast Asia developed my global sense much more than any other experience I have had,” he says.
Brackin has a long history of advocating for others’ rights and says his proudest moments have been seeing those he has helped graduate from college. The Brackin Scholarship will continue to help students achieve their dreams. Choosing Capital University as the beneficiary was an easy choice for Brackin, who throughout his 90 years has been devoted to the purple and white. “Capital was my other family,” he says matter-of-factly.