Mary Jo MacCracken

Dr. Mary Jo MacCracken reflects on 45 years of teaching in the College of Education

Dr. Mary Jo MacCrackenMy classes hear these pearls of wisdom from my mother and grandfather: 

  • “If you think you can, you can!” 
  • “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” 
  • “Keep a goin’.” 

And from my dear first boss, Andy Maluke (who also gave 45 years of his life to UA):  “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” 

Finally, from my colleague and friend, Bob Gandee:  “No one is irreplaceable, so stayed focused."

As a faculty member here for 45 years, I remember arriving for work and parking across the street from Memorial Hall (near the fire station in one of two parking lots--where the library or the JAR now stand).  Buildings down, buildings up;  streets open, streets closed.  Colleagues/deans/presidents may be here no longer, but their legacy lives on.  “Nothing ever stays the same”… except students who keep faculty young.  No longer just from the Akron area but from all over the world, UA students are hard-working, conscientious, curious and eager to learn.  Many now embrace service learning projects… not only to be selfless but also to use the knowledge learned from a textbook or lecture. Like my father, UA students have grit … working two and three jobs to get an education.  No matter what one thinks of the university, one aspect that seems to have changed is the value placed on research and on expecting students to learn to ask critical questions… to think globally.  What an eye-opening experience UASIS and RACE WEEK held for my students this year! As my Grandfather Dr. D.J. Frame said, “Get an education; they cannot take it away from you.” We were expected to learn something new every day. 

Finally, I want to share one of mother’s favorite poems (from Babcock). “Be strong!  We are not here to play, to dream, to drift. We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.  Shun not the struggle, face it!  ‘Tis God’s gift.” 

As 2020 nears, UA will change as it has in the last 45 years … but I predict successes will continue to multiply because UA holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of so many people.

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