Early in his career, Dr. Gary Kramer discovered that the optimal experience is something you make happen. With this spirit of determination, he pursued a career in education that earned him many institutional and national awards for research, professional excellence, and distinguished service. After 31 years at Brigham Young University, Kramer will retire this September.

Kramer was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of southern California. After returning home from serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, he received a BA and MA at BYU and a PhD from Oregon State University in 1977. Kramer went on to become a dean of students, associate dean of student academic and advisement services, and director of student services on three campuses.

Having joined the BYU faculty in 1982 as an assistant professor, Kramer taught graduate courses for 28 years in the Counseling and Psychology Department (formerly the Department of Educational Psychology and then School Counseling), concurrent with a fulltime assignment as associate dean in the BYU central administration. He returned to the McKay School fulltime in 2007 to focus on research and assessment as a member of the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling. In addition to giving over 130 academic presentations to national organizations, Kramer has published 80 journal articles, four monographs, and four books. “I’ve been so involved because I love this work,” Kramer said. “I’m very passionate about it.”

Although BYU is primarily an undergraduate teaching university, Kramer feels it is also important for the university to publish and present its work to peers across the country as well as internationally. “Good scholars should be good teachers, and good teachers should be good scholars,” Kramer said. “You should be both in order to really make a difference. We have such great programs and faculty here at BYU, but we can learn a great deal about being engaged with university communities nationwide.”

Kramer has most enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and mentoring students as co-authors to publish numerous articles and presentations. “I’ve enjoyed this academic journey because I was able to work with others, especially students, and I had marvelous opportunities to learn from and watch them grow as well,” he said.

After retirement, Kramer looks forward to having more time with his wife and family, particularly their 24 grandchildren. Among his many interests, Kramer enjoys bicycling, gardening, and playing racquetball. He also hopes to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his wife. “As long as we can hold up, we want to wear ourselves out in the mission field,” he said.

Gary Kramer began teaching at the McKay School in 1982, has served in the BYU central administration, and has been the Director of Assessment for the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling and the McKay school for the past five years.

11 July 2011