A former Ball State University trustee who served on the board for 32 years has died. Frank Bracken was the grandson of Frank Ball, one of the brothers for whom the university is named. His career experience included four years as the undersecretary of the interior for President George H.W. Bush. Bracken was 82.
Bracken retired from the board in 2012, having served six years as president and 18 years as vice president. The main library on the Muncie campus bears the name of his father, Alexander M. Bracken. Frank Bracken’s son, Thomas, joined the board in 2012, continuing a family legacy at the university that dates back to its 1918 founding.
Ball State Interim President Terry King says "Frank Bracken, like his father and grandfather before him, is one of the pioneering figures who not only imagined a rich future for Ball State, he helped create it. His legacy will remain alive in the next generations of Ball State students who will thrive on this campus, built in part through Frank’s vision and generosity."
He started working for the predecessor to Indianapolis-based Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP in 1960 and joined the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1969 as legislative council. From 1972-1987 he worked for Ball-InCon Glass Packaging Corp., which was based in Muncie at the time. He became the company’s board chairman in 1987. He returned to Bingham from 1994-2001.
Former Ball State President John Worthen said "Frank was a great friend and colleague. It was Frank who made the call to offer me the job here. He was old-school in the best sense of that term – he accepted responsibility, was loyal and his support of Sandra and me was unfailing. He was committed to supporting Ball State and serving as a trustee as a way of continuing the work his grandfather and great uncles had begun. Being loyal to Ball State and to the family was something that was inculcated very early… It was just simply part of their culture."
Through various leadership positions with the George and Frances Ball Foundation, he played a key role in fundraising for the school’s popular Frog Baby statue. He also donated his childhood home, the Bracken House, which serves as the university president’s residence.
He also served on boards including Ball Memorial Hospital, First Merchants Corp. and Minnetrista.