Back on campus

Alum returns after 80 years, secures transcripts in pursuit of degree

Ruth Kramer, right, in front of Graff Main Hall talking with Registrar Chris Bakkum.

Ruth (Beaver) Kramer, right, who attended UW-L in 1931-32, returned to campus in August to get a copy of her transcripts. Here, she’s in front of Graff Main Hall talking with Registrar Chris Bakkum.

Campus has changed a lot since Ruth (Beaver) Kramer was a student from 1931-32. But when she returned in August, she saw some familiar names.

Kramer, an Ontario, Wis., native, was visiting campus to retrieve transcripts from when she was an elementary education major nine decades ago. As her mother was dying, she told Kramer, who was only 9, to “get an education.” That’s one of the reasons Kramer, of Arlington, Va., was back in La Crosse.

After a year at La Crosse State Teachers College, Kramer began the nursing program across town at St Francis. She entered the Navy in 1936, where she spent most of her career. In August, Kramer received an honorary degree from Viterbo University for completing the St. Francis nursing program. After earning college credits throughout her nursing and Navy careers, she’s determined to finally earn a bachelor’s like her mother encouraged.

When she returned to Old Main to get a copy of her transcript, Kramer, 97, felt at home. “It’s a gorgeous, old building,” she says. “And, it’s a great school.”

Scanning her transcript, she quickly recalled names familiar to campus. She remembered having history with Mr. Laux, English with Mr. White and geography with Mr. Whitney. All have buildings named in their honor.

Kramer’s love for UW-L was instilled on her daughter, Eve Kramer, who earned a physical education degree in 1969. Eve’s love for UW-L is displayed in her email address, in which she proudly declares she’s a “uwlgrad.”