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UW-Eau Claire news release

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Estate gift of $1.25 million to endow faculty chair at UW-Eau Claire

August 21, 2012
Oliver Ramsey
Oliver Marion Ramsey
EAU CLAIRE —The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation has received a gift of $1.25 million to establish a permanently endowed faculty chair in the sciences or mathematics at UW-Eau Claire.

The gift is the fulfillment of an estate gift from James and Anne Ramsey in memory of James Ramsey's brother, U.S. Navy Lt. Oliver Marion Ramsey, a Fairchild native and 1933 UW-Eau Claire graduate who later graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II and died in battle in 1942. James and Anne Ramsey, who lived in Longwood, Fla., notified the UW-Eau Claire Foundation of their planned gift in 2001. Anne Ramsey died in 2009, and James Ramsey passed away in April 2012.

The Ramsey trust has designated an additional gift to the Foundation to be made at the closing of the trust that will further add to the Ramsey chair endowment, said Kimera Way, UW-Eau Claire Foundation president.

The Oliver Marion Ramsey Endowed Chair is UW-Eau Claire's first fully endowed faculty chair in the College of Arts and Sciences. The first faculty recipient of the Ramsey endowed chair award will be announced before the 2013-14 academic year.

"We are honored by this gift of support for a faculty position and will gratefully fulfill James and Anne Ramsey's wish to memorialize Lieutenant Oliver Ramsey's service to his country through a faculty chair in his name," Way said. "This gift means so much as we continue to uphold our standards for academic excellence in preparing our students for success in an interconnected world, all while grappling with state budgetary constraints. Investing in faculty excellence is a major focus of the Foundation's efforts as we continue to reach out to alumni and friends."

Oliver Marion Ramsey was only 14 when he was named valedictorian of his graduating class at Fairchild High School, and he was only 18 when he graduated from Eau Claire State Teachers College (now UW-Eau Claire) in 1933. Marion, as his family called him, then attended the U.S. Naval Academy and rose quickly to the rank of full lieutenant after his graduation in 1937. In the fall of 1942, he was right-hand man to Rear Adm. Norman Scott aboard the flagship Atlanta in the South Pacific. On Nov. 27, 1942 — which would have been Marion Ramsey’s 28th birthday — the Ramsey family of rural Fairchild received the news that Marion had died Nov. 13 in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He had been buried at sea.

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