New Scholarship being offered: Lakewood Ranch visionary leaves legacy Print this post

By Bob Reddy, Florida Catholic


The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. has announced the Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship, a new academic scholarship for both traditional and non-traditional students.

Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. logo.

Made possible through the Catholic legacy of Mary Fran Carroll and her generous gift to the Foundation, 10 academic scholarships of $3,000 each are available this year to residents of Sarasota County.

These scholarships are open to graduating seniors and recent high school graduates from private or public high schools who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree at any accredited college or university. In addition, adult learners who are returning to school to obtain a college degree or vocational certification after being out of high school for several years, can also apply for scholarships. Applications for the 2017-18 academic year must submitted online at by 11:59 p.m. on April 16.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the new Mary Fran Carroll academic scholarship which will distributed through the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. during a press conference at the Catholic Center in Venice on March 23.

The new scholarship was announced during a press conference on March 23 at the Diocese of Venice Chancery with Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Catholic Community Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse, Diocese of Venice Director of Education Dr. Kristy Swol, and representing the Foundation Board of Directors, Janet Beach.

During the press conference Bishop Dewane noted that Mary Fran Carroll was a successful businesswoman who dedicated her life to her faith, to fun and to charity.

Mary Fran Carroll, the benefactor to the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. and namesake of a new academic scholarship.

“Mary Fran embodied all these things in the way she lived. Through her incredible generosity, she wants to make it possible for others to do those same things in their life.”

Carroll gave a gift of $3.6 million to establish the scholarship fund, the Bishop added. “It was her desire to help others achieve career success through her legacy. She was committed to providing opportunities to those individuals willing to work hard to make a difference in the community.”

Foundation Executive Director Morse explained that this gift will allow the Foundation to assist students far beyond our lifetimes. “Ms. Carroll was a visionary, and it was her dream to help both traditional and non-traditional students achieve career success through education. She also strongly encouraged each scholarship recipient to complete an ethics course at some point in their college career.”

All scholarship applicants will be asked to complete an online application and financial needs assessment in addition to submitting a clearly articulated career plan describing their chosen course of study.   Traditional students must be accepted into an accredited college or university and non-traditional students need to be accepted into an accredited college, university or vocational program.

Morse explained that a Foundation Scholarship Committee will carefully review applications and announce the scholarship awards in late May, which then can be used for tuition, books and fees. Scholarships may be renewed annually up to a total of five academic years for students maintaining a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.2 or greater, while also making progress toward their career goal.

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. was established to provide philanthropic opportunities for individuals, such as Mary Fran Carroll, to create lasting gifts in support of Catholic programs and ministries within the Diocese of Venice. Last year alone, the Foundation distributed $1.2 million in endowed support for Catholic Schools, Parishes, Seminarian education, programs for the needy, college scholarships and more.

Bishop Dewane said that Carroll believed very strongly in setting an example for others to follow and in the Catholic Church, which is why she chose to create her scholarship with the Catholic Community Foundation. It was one of her hopes that other donors would follow her lead and create their own Catholic legacies in support of Catholic programs and services in the Diocese like she did.

Mary Fran Carroll retired as an executive with Northern Trust Co. in the late 1980s, before serving as CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch for more than a decade. In that role, Carroll was responsible for much of the development of Lakewood Ranch, including the Sarasota Polo Club and the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Business Park.

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