Craig Manwaring Memorial Scholarship for UT


All-American leaves a legacy to support education

Craig Manwaring was born in 1949 in a tiny settlement outside of Highland, Illinois known as St. Morgan.  Craig grew up in the house that his father built; fishing, playing cards, and riding his bicycle along the country roads. It was a simple, honest and wholesome upbringing – one that Craig would later look back on as “the wonderful world of St. Morgan.”

As a boy, Craig was notable for his height (he grew to 6’5” as an adult) and inclusive nature, going out of his way to stand up for anyone being unfairly treated or left out. He excelled in both academics and sports, earning high school varsity letters for football, baseball, track, and basketball. He set numerous basketball records at Highland High School, eventually earning induction into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. As a high school senior he was named an All-American and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison on a full basketball scholarship. Yet he remained modest. Anyone who knew of his accomplishments probably didn’t hear it from him.

At Wisconsin, Craig majored in American Institutions. It was also in Madison that he met his wife, Maureen. They moved to East Moline following their college graduations, where Craig began his 33-year teaching career at United Township High School. Craig and Maureen eventually had three daughters, Melissa, Erin, and Anna, all of whom graduated from UTHS.

At UT, Craig was a fixture in the social studies department, known for his engaging teaching style and dry wit. He taught U.S. History at all levels and helped develop the integrated critical thinking program.  Craig also spent many years coaching boys’ basketball and baseball at UT. The sunset maple tree behind the varsity baseball centerfield fence was planted in his memory.

Outside of UT, Craig’s hobbies reflected his love of history and the outdoors as well as his enjoyment of learning and intellectual challenge. His routine included two daily crossword puzzles and a weekly trivia competition. He enjoyed collecting historic Native American and military artifacts as well as camping, canoeing, and playing racquetball. Shortly before his retirement, he bought a plot of undeveloped land near Port Byron where he could hike, garden, fish, hunt, and simply enjoy the natural setting. A conservationist at heart, he was careful to hunt only what he planned to eat, and never killed anything purely for sport or display.

Craig loved to travel to places that allowed him to explore his passions for history and nature. His adventures included fishing trips to Alaska and Canada, a history education program retracing the Lewis & Clark expedition through the Northwest, and a family trip to France – a highlight of which was lowering the flag at the Normandy American Cemetery. Two months before he passed away he and two friends drove to the east coast, visiting Civil War sites, deep-sea fishing, and whitewater rafting.

Craig was a lifelong teacher and learner. He spent the last few weeks before his death – which he knew was inevitable – writing down a series of stories and essays that he felt important enough to pass on. One phrase from these last writings captures much about who Craig was:
“… to be willing to accept the fact that every day is not going to be all positive and that even the very worst day can be formative, educational and very valuable if you don’t see it just as a bad day, but as a learning experience.”


Established by the Manwaring family, the Craig Manwaring Memorial Scholarship for United Township will be awarded each year by the United Education Foundation to a deserving UTHS senior who exemplifies one or more of Craig’s qualities and attributes: sportsmanship; a passion for history; respect for the land and environment; and quiet leadership by example.


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