Dr. Hal R. Ramer, founding president of the College, remembered
Submitted on February 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM
Hal R. Ramer, founding president of Volunteer State Community College, died this weekend at the age of 86. Dr. Ramer served the College for 32 years, from his appointment as president on July 1, 1970, until his retirement on January 31, 2003. He is remembered as an innovative leader in higher education, an energetic and involved member of the community, and a friend to many.
“Dr. Ramer was always a devoted advocate for Vol State and our students, and was a personal friend and confidant to me,” said Vol State President Dr. Warren Nichols. “Even after his retirement from the College, Dr. Ramer invested his time, energy, and resources to ensure that the college he loved continued to serve the needs of our students and our community.”
“Hal Ramer had been with the Tennessee Board of Regents since our very beginning and was the longest-serving president in the history of the system,” said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Charles Manning. “After his retirement, he remained a willing and wise advisor. His lifelong commitment to education served the people of Tennessee well, and all those who have attended a TBR community college owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Dr. Ramer, as assistant state commissioner for higher education, was closely involved in plans to build a new community college in Gallatin. The promotion of the idea was the cooperative work of many civic leaders and citizens of Sumner County, as well as state officials. The first classes began in October of 1971 in churches, secondary schools and a National Guard Armory. The administration of the college was initially operated out of buildings in downtown Gallatin, including a dusty, old hotel.
From those humble beginnings Dr. Ramer led Vol State to become a full-service higher education institution offering 70 programs with an enrollment of more than 8,000 students a semester. The main campus now comprises 16 buildings, and the Vol State at Livingston campus has added a new building and classrooms. From its 1971 inception more than 100,000 persons have attended the College.
Dr. Ramer continued his dedicated service to Vol State after retirement, through close work with the College Foundation. The Hal R. Ramer Society honors the generous donors who make student scholarships and college advancement possible. Dr. Ramer continued to stay in touch with the life of the college, attending events and visiting friends. The Ramer Oratorical Contest is held each year to showcase students who excel in speech and communication.
Dr. Ramer was a native of Kenton, Tennessee, born on June 8, 1923. He was a graduate of George Peabody College (B.S., 1947) and the University of Tennessee (M.S.S.W., 1952). He received his Ph.D. degree in 1963 in higher education administration from The Ohio State University. He served there for ten years, 1953-1963, in the positions of staff assistant to the president, assistant dean of men, and director of the George Wells Knight International Center. He helped organize and was active in The Ohio State University Alumni Club of Middle Tennessee.
Prior to his community college presidency, Dr. Ramer served for seven years (1963-1970) as assistant state commissioner for higher education of the Tennessee Department of Education where he was head of the administrative staff of the division of higher education with the State Board of Education, then the governing board for the six State regional universities, the community college system, and the technical institutes. Working with the governor and State Legislature, he assisted the State Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education in the establishment of the statewide system of community colleges. He received the Tennessee Department of Education's Distinguished Service Award in 1970.
Dr. Ramer was honored as the first recipient of the Lifetime Service Award from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 2003, and as the first recipient of the Masonic Lodge of Gallatin's Community Service Award in 2005. He served as a member of the Administrative Board of Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, the Tennessee Academy of Science, the Tennessee Historical Society, the Knights of Pythias, and the Sumner County Historical Society. In 2006 he was named Stellar Tribute Honoree by the Sumner Foundation.
Services for Dr. Ramer will be held at Belmont United Methodist Church, 2007 Acklen Avenue in Nashville, on Thursday, February 18 at 3:00 p.m. Visitation will also be at the Church on Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
A Vol State campus memorial is scheduled for Friday, February 19 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium in Caudill Hall. The public is invited to attend.
To view a picture gallery remembering Dr. Ramer please visit: http://www.volstate.edu/Galleries/Dr_Hal_R_Ramer/
###In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the: Volunteer State College Foundation Hal R. Ramer Endowment Fund 1480 Nashville Pike Gallatin, TN 37066 Or Belmont United Methodist Church 2007 Acklen Avenue Nashville, TN 37212
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