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Dr. Ramer and The Ramer Administration Building

The Ramer Administration building photo provided by Thigen Library

The Ramer Administration Building at Volunteer State Community College houses a variety of administrative offices, and the student radio station, WVCP (list student-related offices)

The building is named after the founder and first president, Dr. Hal Reed Ramer.

“He was a native of Kenton, Tennessee. He was a graduate of Peabody College and the University of Tennessee, and he received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University, where he had also served in the positions of assistant to the president, assistant dean of men, and director of international center,” according to “The Community Colleges of Tennessee: The Founding and Early Years,”. 

Ramer’s name was initially suggested by J. Howard Warf was the president of the college to the State Board of Education. The board screened and considered several different candidates but ultimately chose Ramer. It was then that Ramer paved the way for the community college.

“I drove out to Sumner County and looked at about 100 acres of pasture land and I realized that one year later there was supposed to be a college there,” said Dr. Ramer in an interview with former Vol State alumni, Lee Reyes, in The Pioneer.

Not only did he establish the location of the college, but he came up with the name Volunteer State Community College.  Ramer also helped establish Vol State’s primary principles, according to The Pioneer.

Ramer shared his vision for the school by saying the purpose was to provide low-cost, quality education on the basis of an open-door admission by providing high-quality faculty and facilities, to provide an educational experience based on individual students needs and to implement programs designed to elevate academically deficient students according to “The Community Colleges of Tennessee: The Founding and Early Years,”

Ramer certainly left his mark on the school, but he also left his mark on the people, said his secretary of 27 years, Betty Gibson.

“One time I told Dr. Ramer I felt like he was the most God-like man I would ever meet,” said Gibson. “He truly, truly, truly cared about everybody he met. I mean it was genuine. He cared about the students so much,”.

Gibson also shared personal stories of her time as Ramer secretary.

“He made you feel good, even when you messed up. I remember one time I did something so stupid, and I felt terrible about what I had done, and Dr. Ramer came up and told me, ‘Mrs. Betty, sometimes our circuits just get overloaded,'” Gibson said laughing.

Ramer was a family man, and he made his staff feel that Vol State was a second home. In her retirement letter, Gibson wrote that she felt guilty drawing a salary for her job at times because working for Dr. Ramer did not feel like work, said Gibson.

Ramer and the Vol State faculty opened the school doors on Oct. 4, 1971; however, those doors lead to church buildings in Gallatin. The school officially moved to its permanent location in the winter of 1972, according to a 1971 “Young World Article.”

The school originally consisted of four primary buildings, one of which was the Ramer Building. However, when classes originally moved into Vol State Buildings, the Ramer building was yet to be named after the school president. So it was referred to as the Administration Building, said Gibson.

It was not until 2003, the year of Dr. Ramer’s retirement, that the Administration Building was named in his honor.

“It was approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents in 2002, at their Dec. meeting that the Administration Building could be named in his honor,” said Gibson.

 “I’m very grateful that the Tennessee Board of Regents gave me the status of president emeritus and named the A-Building after me. The title invokes a continuing relationship with the college, for which I am grateful,” Ramer said in his retirement article written by Lee Reyes for The Pioneer

Dr. Ramer picture provided by Thigen Library.

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