St. Thomas’ College of Education, Leadership and Counseling Dean Bruce Kramer, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in December 2010, announced Thursday he will be taking a leave of absence effective immediately.
Sue Huber, vice president of academic affairs, said Associate Dean David Rigoni will serve as interim dean until a search committee names a permanent replacement.
Huber said the replacement could be named by the end of the 2012-2013 academic year.
Kramer and Huber have been long-time colleagues, and Huber said “this is a very difficult and sad time for me.”
2010 St. Thomas graduate and English professor Steven Broszko, did not know Kramer on a personal level, but said he appreciates Kramer’s “leadership” and “inspirational” values.
“I wish I would have known him better, but what he said to my departing education class I’ll never forget. I think he was a great leader and such an inspirational person,” Broszko said.
Broszko said Kramer was unselfish and cared for others more than himself.
“He (Kramer) is a true educator,” Broszko said. “He is the kind of a teacher that looks out for the benefit of his students. He’s not about himself, rather he cares about his students.”
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Patients with ALS gradually lose the ability to move appendages and muscles and become paralyzed. Although there is medication available, there is no cure.
Prior to his dean of education position at St. Thomas, Kramer was a music teacher in Indiana and a school principal in Cairo and Bangkok.
In 1996, Kramer joined the St. Thomas faculty of education leadership team and served in various roles until he was appointed dean in 2009.
Kramer told St. Thomas Magazine that his wife, Ev Emerson, is an “incredible partner” who “encourages, supports, cries, holds, sees the humor, perceives the pain and keeps us on the right path.”
Kramer has two sons, David and Jon, who both graduated from St. Thomas.