Alumni Center's Traditions Hall dedicated at Homecoming
By Steve Seepersaud
The late Charlene Kahlor Kramer '73, LHD '04 was a remarkable person who epitomized Binghamton pride and it's only fitting that she's remembered at the Alumni Center, said University President Harvey Stenger.
In a tribute to the generosity she and her husband Roger Kramer '72 have shown toward the University over four decades, the corridor entering the Alumni Center in Old O'Connor Hall has been named the Charlene Kahlor Kramer Traditions Hallway. A dedication of this space was held Oct. 7, during Homecoming weekend.
"Just as a hallway provides a path from one place to another, the support and encouragement that Charlene and Roger provide have allowed for students to move from one place to another in their careers. The scholarships they've endowed have enabled our students – four dozen scholars and academics – to achieve their dreams of earning a college degree," Stenger said.
The Kramers endow four scholarships for academically gifted students with financial need. Nearly every year, the couple would return to campus to meet with the recipients. Coming from modest means, giving back to scholarship support at Binghamton University was always a priority to the Kramers.
"Charlene always worked hard at summer jobs and after school, but it still wasn't enough money to get through Binghamton, even in the early 1970s, so she needed scholarships and work-study," Kramer said. "Back then, we decided – as soon as we were able – we'd give back to scholarships. When I was in grad school, I had a stipend of $200 a month, but I'd give $25 to Binghamton. And every year, we'd give more."
After she graduated from Binghamton, Charlene Kramer joined home mortgage provider Fannie Mae, where she'd become a senior executive managing national award-winning advertising campaigns, as well as the company's social responsibility outreach programs. Her work was recognized by publications such as Working Mother and Fortune. Because of her commitment to the public good, the University recognized her with an honorary degree in 2004.
At the dedication ceremony, a photo of the Kramers with the University Union and the Peace Quad was on display. Taken last November, it was the cover of their holiday card. It was the last holiday greeting they'd send as Charlene died two weeks afterward.
"It's hard for me to think of anything that would show your love for your alma mater than to have our signature Clock Tower grace the card that goes out to your nearest and dearest friends," Stenger said. "It is typical of Charlene that she would, as her last wish, give of herself that others might have better lives."
"What Harvey said was very moving," Kramer said. "It fills me with pride that we have something permanent at the University to remember Charlene. To me, it honors that Charlene and I met here in the spring of 1971. And, I'm very happy this is based on giving to scholarships. These students are so grateful, so nice and so smart. We feel so much joy in giving back to this University."
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