Goucher alumna gives $1 million to college Pioneering chemist's funds will establish science scholarships

February 04, 1997|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

Pioneering chemist Margaret Strauss Kramer, a 1930 Goucher College graduate who says she never forgot her Baltimore roots, wanted to remember her alma mater in a big way.

The Baltimore native, raised in a house in the 2200 block of Eutaw Place, is donating $1 million to establish student scholarships in chemistry as part of the Towson college's five-year capital campaign.

"I love Baltimore and I had a wonderful life and education there," Kramer said last night from her home in Palm Beach, Fla. "I felt that a lot of my accomplishments in life were based on the wonderful education and encouragement I got from Goucher."

Kramer jokingly referred to herself as "a native Baltimoron" and said she recalls her years in the city with great fondness. With no children, she said her gift to the college carries special meaning for her.

"I consider the recipients of my trust to be my grandchildren," she said. "It's a gift I'm making to them."

After graduating from Goucher with a degree in chemistry, Kramer worked as a research assistant in the department of medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital at a time when male doctors and scientists dominated. During her years there from 1930 to 1938, she was involved in groundbreaking research in the treatment of Addison's disease, an illness caused by failure of the adrenal glands.

"The beauty of what this gift gives us is recruiting power to find other Margaret Kramers," said Judy Jolley Mohraz, Goucher president. "She has been a major figure in industrial and medical work."

After leaving Hopkins, Kramer went to head the Allergy Laboratory of the New York University Medical Center for 25 years.

Kramer joins several other alumnae -- such as Margot Birmingham Perot, Class of 1955 and wife of Ross Perot -- who have each contributed $1 million or more to the college's capital campaign.

To date, Goucher has raised $37.3 million in gifts and pledges in the drive, aimed at obtaining $40 million by June 1999 to boost its $93 million endowment.

Scholarships, information technology, faculty salaries, faculty initiatives and campus infrastructure are five priorities the independent, coeducational liberal arts college has targeted to bring the 101-year-old school into the next century.

"People value what they got here -- that Goucher made a difference in their lives," said Mark W. Jones, the college's vice president for development, explaining the graduates' generosity. "People now are trying to give back what was given to them."

While at NYU, Kramer received a master's degree in organic chemistry from the university by attending night school.

Later, she directed other allergy laboratories specializing in the preparations of allergenic products. Kramer holds 11 national and international patents.

"Mrs. Kramer never had any children of her own," Mohraz said. "So her philanthropy will support generation after generation of Kramer 'children' in chemistry."

Pub Date: 2/04/97

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