MC presents Kramer with Distinguished Service Award

April 25, 2003
David Rasnake, Communications Assistant

The Maryville College Board of Directors presented Roy Kramer with the College’s Distinguished Service Award during an April 24 reception held at the Knoxville home of Jim and Natalie Haslam.

Kramer, a noted coach and administrator and Maryville College graduate, was recognized for service in his chosen profession of collegiate athletics.

Kramer served a distinguished 12-year tenure as commissioner of the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference, presiding over the most significant growth in conference history. Under his leadership, the conference signed multi-million dollar television deals, and in 2001, the 12 teams Kramer represented split $78.1 million in profits.

A former high school and college football coach, Kramer led Central Michigan University to a Division II National Championship in 1974. In 1978, Kramer took a position as athletics director at Vanderbilt University, overseeing renovation of the school’s existing athletics facilities and construction of a new 41,000-seat football stadium.

Kramer is honored in both the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Blount County Hall of Fame. He was also a 1981 recipient of MC’s Alumni Citation.

Graduating from Maryville College in 1951, Kramer went on to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Michigan before beginning his coaching career.

Kramer is married to the former Sara Jo Emert, a 1951 graduate of Maryville College; they have three children, Steve, Sara Gray, and Jane, and six grandchildren. Kramer and his wife now reside in Maryville.

The April 24 reception included remarks by Mark Cate, vice president for admissions and advancement at the College; Dr. Robert D. Proffitt, a physician and Maryville College classmate of Kramer and his wife; and College president, Dr. Gerald W. Gibson.

Bringing the evening to a close, Gibson made note of Kramer’s accomplishments and innovations in college athletics. Gibson also emphasized the coach and administrator’s renowned work ethic, stating “it is that kind of attitude that makes Maryville College proud to call you an alum.

“It is said that the ‘finishers’ of this world are the successful ones. The world is full of ‘starters,’ but it is the ‘finishers’ that leave their mark. Roy Kramer has always been a finisher. And Roy Kramer certainly has left a mark,” Gibson concluded.

Gibson presented Kramer with a framed Maryville College football jersey in honor of the award. A proclamation from the Tennessee State Legislature recognizing Kramer was also read during the ceremony.

Established in 1991, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service within their community, church or chosen profession. Recipients in past years include Darrell Akins, Stanley “Skeeter” Shields, host Jim Haslam, Dr. Duncan Ferguson and the Rev. John McQueen.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.