The estate of the late Bernard “Bernie” and Lorraine Goris Klamer has donated $1 million to Calvin College to be split among the biology, chemistry and nursing departments. The funds will be used for scholarship endowments and research fellowships for all three departments and will support the nursing program’s community nursing component.

Bernard Klamer, who died in 2014 at age 85, was a 1950 graduate of Calvin College and earned his PhD in biochemistry at Michigan State University. His research career spanned the fields of biology and chemistry, as he worked at Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals in Ann Arbor; the Institute of Pathology in Amsterdam; Abbott Laboratories in Waukegan, Illinois, doing pharmaceutical research; and then spent 20 years conducting clinical drug trials around the world.

His wife, Lorraine, was a 1950 graduate of the Calvin-Blodgett nursing program and worked in places such as Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids and Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. In the latter years of her career, she educated nursing students in Racine, Wisconsin, and advocated for the Arthritis Foundation. She was especially passionate in raising awareness about rheumatoid arthritis, which she had throughout her adult life. Lorraine died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 1988 at the age of 59.


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The couple’s children, Craig and Janet Klamer and Lynn and John Morrow, said the family carefully considered the opportunity to give Calvin the $1 million for endowments.

“We started thinking through various causes and what would be a unique way to honor them,” Craig Klamer said. “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 he hopes the funds will make possible a Calvin education in the sciences for students who otherwise could not attend Calvin or who could not complete their programs because of financial obstacles.