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Family with ties to Ferris supports Colleges of Pharmacy and Optometry

BIG RAPIDS – Bruce G. and Emily F. (Cramer) Hancock of Indianapolis, Ind. have recently established an endowment fund to support Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometry and the College of Pharmacy.

Emily’s grandfather was W.D. Cramer, a botanist and zoologist as well as one of Woodbridge N. Ferris’ early faculty members.

“In fact, in old yearbooks he’s listed as teaching biology in the Pharmacy department. He collected his plant specimens on the bank of the Muskegon River near campus, and he sold many of them to the pharmaceutical houses of the day,” shared Emily.

Emily’s father, Ferris graduate Alfred S. Cramer, was a member of the Ferris Board of Incorporators during the time Ferris was given state institution status in 1949. The Board of Incorporators, a group of Big Rapids businessmen, had been charged with “perpetuating the school as a non-profit, non-stock organization” during the most financially challenging period in Ferris’ history from 1931-1950.

According to Emily, she and Bruce discussed how the funds derived from the endowment would be used. They both agreed that they wanted to structure a non-restrictive endowment so the funds could be used for the greatest needs of the colleges.

“Bruce is a college professor, and I served as adjunct faculty for years. We both recognize that faculty members are too often left out of development opportunities,” said Emily. It’s not just about support for scholarships, facilities and equipment.”

Added Bruce, “That’s a big challenge with a lot of universities – faculty recruitment and retention. You can’t attract the best faculty and expect them to maintain standards of practice if you don’t devote resources to their development.”

Ferris State University President David L. Eisler shared his excitement and enthusiasm for the contributions the Cramer family has made to the university.

“Through these endowments Emily and Bruce help sustain the heritage of excellence at Ferris and support our programs and faculty in meaningful ways,” said Eisler. "Given the special place the Cramer name occupies in our history, this is a wonderful connection with both our present and future."

Emily is a 1971 graduate of Big Rapids High School and a 1976 graduate of Ferris State (College) University with a B.S. in Pharmacy. She also received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Purdue University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public affairs at Indiana University.

For more information or to make a gift to the Cramer Family Endowments, please contact The Ferris Foundation at (231) 591-2365 or [email protected]. You can obtain details about establishing scholarships or endowments by calling the Advancement office at (231) 591-3825.