Studying at Oberlin College in the late 1950s, Owen Cramer initially planned a career in chemistry. However, he was quickly encouraged to pursue passions in other areas — namely, the classics. The world has changed in innumerable ways since that time, but at CC, Cramer has been a constant for generations of students, staff, and fellow faculty.
Arriving at Colorado College in 1965 — 50 years ago this year — he has served on committees, chaired and directed departments and programs, and helped create and develop the Block Plan. Described as “a maverick” by his fellow classics professor Marcia Dobson, Cramer has compiled a résumé of continued service and scholarship that represents a touchstone for all members of this community.
Completing his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin, Cramer joined a Colorado College that was devoid of the Greek and Latin programs that had been a main focus of the college’s early curriculum. Seeking to re-establish their prominence within the growing liberal arts curriculum of the college, Cramer operated as a one-man department for years. He shared space with other professors, and his early classes were cross-listed with the History Department.
By the ’70s, Cramer was managing up to 36 students at a time in a combination of regular block and independent-study courses. Hiring Dobson helped immensely, and since then the two of them have led and grown the classics at Colorado College greatly, structuring the major in the ’80s, and expanding the department with a third member.
Beyond Classics, Cramer also helped establish the Comparative Literature Department in 1993, and has chaired the Romance Languages and Spanish Departments. He also has been an active member of the Colorado Springs community since his arrival. He was an anti-Vietnam War organizer in the ’60s and volunteered as a draft counselor from 1967-1972. In the ’80s he reviewed classical music for the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper, and has for years sung tenor in the CC Choir. A lover of the outdoors and the local community, Cramer also serves with the Shooks Run Trail Friends, and has been listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the West.
Contributions by Kirk Woundy
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