Cracraft family pays it forward with College of Charleston scholarship

From the moment Kionnie Epps stepped foot on its campus, the College of Charleston felt like home. And, as we all know, family is what makes a place a home.

“The College of Charleston family is wonderful,” says Epps, noting that the Office of Admissions’ Ken Grimmage and Fred Quick both reached out to her after her initial visit. “They made me feel really wanted, like I’d be a valuable part of campus. And the College of Charleston’s minority population is just so supportive and welcoming – like a family within the greater CofC family.”

Also supportive and welcoming: The Cracraft family.

“The Cracrafts and their generosity mean everything to me,” says Epps, a senior public health major and a recipient of the Cracraft Family Endowed Scholarship.

Inspired by the Willard A. Silcox ’33 Memorial Scholarship that their daughter, Kellee Ann ’15, received while a student at the College, Scott Cracraft ’83 and Janet Cracraft ’85 established the Cracraft Family Endowed Scholarship in 2015.

It wasn’t the first time the family made an impact at CofC. Among other positions at the College, Scott, co-founder of the Lynch Cracraft Wealth Management Group, has served as vice president of the Alumni Association as well as a member of the Foundation Board and the Board of Governors for the School of Business.

He and Janet established the scholarship specifically for first-generation students who maintain a 3.0 GPA and participate in at least two College of Charleston organizations.

And Epps certainly fits the bill – and then some. The Kingstree, South Carolina, native has served as the president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; vice director of Luminescent, Community Outreach Organization; a peer academic coach for the IMPACT Scholars; a Bonner Leader; an orientation intern; and a student ambassador. She also volunteers as a lead mentor at Kids on Point and as a special projects coordinator at Palmetto Community Action Partnership.

“Janet and I are so excited that Kionnie is the recipient of our scholarship,” says Scott Cracraft. “We are  happy we can assist this outstanding young woman in her academic endeavors. We are keenly aware of the difference a college education can have on the outcome of a person’s life. Kionnie is certainly going places and we look forward to watching where she goes!”

And the support has allowed Epps to remain concentrated on her goals.

“I plan to continue my education, and that gets expensive,” says Epps, who plans to get her master’s degree in healthcare administration. “That’s why the Cracraft scholarship is so important to me – it has taken a lot of the financial stress off of me so that I can focus on my future.”

It has also inspired Epps to give back to the College in the future – maybe even creating her own alumni scholarship one day.

“College of Charleston alumni support each other no matter what,” she says. “As a family, that’s what we do!”