by Steve Johnson
Special to The Leaven
ATCHISON — Benedictine College here honored two well-known and involved members of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas at its scholarship ball at the end of February. Kevin (’89) and Pamela (’88) (Schaefer) Kramer received the prestigious Cross of the Order of St. Benedict at the affair, annually one of the largest and most successful fundraising events in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
“What I really appreciate most about Kevin and Pam is not what they’ve done, but the attitude with which they do it,” said Msgr. Thomas Tank, pastor of the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, their longtime parish.
The Kramers are both alumni and supporters of Benedictine College. They co-chaired the scholarship ball in 2006 and 2007. And both served on the Benedictine College board of directors: Pam, from 2000-2008; Kevin, from 2008-2016.
Pam is a past president of the alumni association and was honored with the Offeramus Medal in 2009. They, with Pam’s family, established the Schaefer Family Endowed Scholarship in 2015. The couple recently moved from the Kansas City area to eastern Iowa, where Kevin is chief operating officer of MidWestOne Financial Group in Iowa City.
In their acceptance speech at the ball, the couple announced the establishment of a new scholarship to benefit aspiring teachers.
The Jan Kramer Catholic Educators Scholarship, named for Kevin’s mother, will go to the children of educators who are following their parents’ example and pursuing degrees in teaching, coaching or counseling.
“We’ve long cherished the gift of our education,” said Pam, “because we’ve experienced the ways a teacher or coach or guidance counselor can change the trajectory of a life.”
“Pam and I, and our daughters, have had the great privilege of learning from outstanding, dedicated, selfless teachers who loved their faith,” said Kevin. “We need more of them. And we need to honor the sacrifices they make.”
This year, the scholarship ball again set a record as more than 800 alumni and friends of the college raised nearly $1 million for scholarships. Emceed by John Holt, anchor at Fox4 News Kansas City, the night brought in $976,000.
Also honored that night were Thomas (’83) and Joan (’85) (Moyer) Kemlage from the St. Louis Archdiocese.
“The Kemlages and Kramers — all four of whom are alums — are two couples who truly serve the church and the college,” said Benedictine College president Stephen D. Minnis. “Both couples are our good friends and we thank them for their unwavering support of the college and their communities.”