College receives $1M gift


Lorraine Goris Klamer, left, and Bernard Klamer. Courtesy Calvin College

A family estate has donated $1 million to support a local college's biology, chemistry and nursing departments.


Calvin College said today that the roughly $1 million donated from the estate of the late Dr. Bernard Klamer and Lorraine Goris Klamer will be split among the three programs, used for scholarship endowments and research fellows and go toward supporting the nursing program’s community nursing component.

Craig and Janet Klamer and Lynn and John Morrow, children and family of the Klamers, indicated the family carefully considered the opportunity to donate the $1 million to Calvin.

“We decided the best way to honor them was by letting Calvin have a gift that will allow others to pursue what my parents had pursued as their passion and work for the Lord,” Craig Klamer said.

The donors

Dr. Bernard Klamer, who graduated from Calvin College and Michigan State University with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, died in 2014 at the age of 85.

Throughout his career, he spent nearly 20 years conducting clinical drug trials and also worked at Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals in Ann Arbor, the Institute of Pathology in Amsterdam and Abbott Laboratories in Illinois.

Lorraine Goris Klamer was a graduate of the Calvin/Blodgett nursing program and spent her career working at Blodgett Hospital, Grand Rapids and Sparrow Hospital, Lansing. She also advocated to raise awareness for rheumatoid arthritis and spent time educating nursing students. She died in 1988 at the age of 59 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Craig Klamer indicated he hopes the funds donated to Calvin will make a science education at Calvin possible for students who otherwise could not attend the college or could not complete their programs due to financial obstacles.


Ken Erffmeyer, VP of advancement at Calvin, said the college appreciates the passion Craig Klamer and Lynn Morrow have for Calvin, which is demonstrated by the philanthropic partnership and investment in nursing, biology and chemistry students.

“We are thankful for the lives of Dr. Bernard ‘Bernie’ Klamer and Lorraine Goris Klamer,” Erffmeyer said. “This gift will make a real difference in students’ lives by equipping them through scholarship and research opportunities.”

Arlene Hoogewerf, chair of the biology department at Calvin, said the donation will enable the department to choose a deserving biology student to receive a scholarship each year and also support summer research for students.

“Summer research positions, where a student works closely with a faculty mentor, are considered to be really high-impact teaching,” Hoogewerf said. “We always have more talented and deserving biology students who desire these summer experiences than we can support, so we are extremely grateful for this tremendous gift.”

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