Faculty helped Jack and Carol Patterson Kramer, Class of 1976, realize their potential. Now they are helping professors provide that same inspiration to other students.
By Carol Marcy
Geneseo has long inspired Jack ’76 and Carol Patterson ’76 Kramer — a place where they also first met. As students, their professors guided, supported and motivated them to explore their interests, discover new ones and build the confidence that shapes their lives today.
Carol remembers Tom Pray, a professor in the School of Business, when she was a student. “I took a class with him, and he tried to convince me to do graduate work at Harvard. He saw something in me that I didn’t see at the time,” said Carol. As a psychology major, Carol chose a different path, but his belief in her made a difference.
It is the kind of experience that has kindled their lifelong passion for Geneseo. “The faculty members make the magic happen,” said Jack. “They deserve our support to help them be the best they can be.”
The Kramers say Geneseo faculty continue to inspire them today. Because of their love for the College and its students, they made a $1.35 million combined outright and planned multi-purpose gift commitment this year. Their blended gift includes an outright $100,000 to create the Jack ’76 and Carol ’76 Kramer Faculty in Excellence and Innovation Endowment.
The endowment provides funding for faculty to explore new pedagogy, programs and research that facilitate innovation, teaching and professional development. It also supports opportunities for faculty to design and present public-facing research, enhancing the overall learning environment for students and community at large.
Ultimately, the Kramers want to support opportunities, such as research, to inspire faculty to teach and engage their students.
Last spring, the Kramers attended a scholarship luncheon, at which donors met their scholarship recipients, shared their stories and observed the impact of such support. The Kramers said they relished listening to Dillon Ramsey ’18 and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Physics Stephen Padalino talk about research in the eGarden: They are investigating how to store the thermal energy generated in a student-built heat capacitor. To aid in the research, students are using technology like Arduino micro-controllers to measure outcomes such as temperature and power, and Raspberry Pis — small computers that fit in the palm of your hand.
“We loved hearing how excited students were about their research projects and their interactions with professors,” said Jack. We are thrilled to be a small part of making that happen.”
The Kramers also made a planned gift commitment for $1.25 million that will support four objectives. It will: create the Jack ’76 and Carol ’76 Kramer Study Abroad Endowment; increase funding for the existing Carol Kramer ’76 Endowed Scholarship and Jack Kramer ’76 Endowed Scholarship; and add to the Jack ’76 and Carol ’76 Kramer Faculty in Excellence and Innovation Endowment.
Each endowment leaves a lasting legacy that will endure for generations of Geneseo students. The Kramers’ impact on Geneseo is significant but even so, they will tell you otherwise.
“We’ve gotten more back than we’ve given,” said Jack. “Neither one of us had any clue what kind of potential we had as individuals. We came into Geneseo as introverted, socially challenged high-school students, and we exited prepared for the real world. Our Geneseo experience allowed us to realize we possessed a potential much greater than we thought we had.”