Everyone deals with the repercussions of death in different ways. Some grieve and mourn, while others try their best to maintain normalcy. The students of the Marist College Fashion Department are no different.
Marist was faced with the untimely death of long-time fashion professor, Richard Cramer. Kramer passed away in his sleep on the night of Feb. 27, 2019. He was found by a neighbor after he failed to show up for his 9:30 a.m. class. He was in his early 70’s, and was a Senior Professional Lecturer of Fashion. Kramer was a beloved friend and colleague of Radley Cramer, the director of the Fashion Department.
Over the past few weeks, Marist students have put together different memorials commemorating Kramer’s life. However, his loss will be felt profoundly over the rest of the semester, particularly for his students. Life surrounding the Marist Fashion department must go on, and Kramer’s students must finish their work without their beloved professor.
One of the hardest aspects of death is not just the finality, but the uncertainty. In Kramer’s absence, major questions were immediately looming over those who had to make the toughest decisions. Who would take over for Kramer? How would his students cope? Was it wrong to possess a “show must go on” mentality surrounding such a tragedy. Among those not only faced with loss, but tough decision making, is Dr. Carolyn Lepre, the Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts at Marist. “We could never replace Richard,” said Lepre. “We simply had to find someone to take his position, and that was a challenge.”
The person found to take over Kramer’s position, was ironically, someone who also knew him and worked with him years ago, former FIT professor, David Roberts. “We’re very hopeful, and I think the students will find it a very easy transition,” said Lepre.
While the transition may be easier than some given Roberts background, it’s still not the same for seniors who have to finish their capping projects without the professor who inspired them. “The whole process is going a lot differently now,” said Fashion Merchandising major, Margaret West. “For the fashion department, the springtime is very back-heavy, so a lot of major events are being affected while we all make adjustments. And on top of everything, you also need to take time to grieve.”
While the transition may inconvenient, it’s a “silver lining” among the tragedy, according to Lepre. With all the new additions coming to the fashion department, Roberts is certainly coming with his hands full. Despite any challenges, the new professor is emerging onto but also with an entirely blank canvas, with a reputation to back it up. Not to mention, Roberts’ time to shine will come soon enough; the 33rd Annual Silver Needle Fashion Show will take place on the first Sunday in May. The show was instituted in 1984, with major contributions from the late Kramer.
On top of the untimely loss of Kramer to the Marist College community, Roberts certainly has some major shoes to fill.