Lifelong Learner Leaves Estate to Help a Friend and Make a Lasting Impact at Sacramento State

Hazel Cramer left more than $3.5 million to Sacramento State through estate planning.

Hazel Cramer left more than $3.5 million to Sacramento State through estate planning.

When Hazel Cramer was a young woman growing up in Flint, Michigan, she tried to enroll in junior college, but was rebuffed because she was not going to be able to be a full-time student.

"They wouldn't let me in because I had to work," she said.

She took a few classes at a community college, but never received a degree. Eventually she moved to California and worked for her entire career as a bookkeeper and accountant for the State of California.

A Growing Appreciation for Sacramento State
Her involvement with Sacramento State began when attending presentations by the Renaissance Society, a participatory "Center for Learning in Retirement" in which members choose to study topics proposed by their peers who coordinate the seminars. Over time, her interest in the University grew, as did her appreciation of its importance to the region.

As she began to think about ultimate plans for her estate, she thought back on the struggles she faced when trying to enroll in college and wanted to do something significant to help students with similar circumstances.

"I understand that students often have obstacles that get in the way of completing their education," she said, "and I wanted to be able to help."

Endowment to Help Future Students
During her lifetime, Hazel committed close to $1 million to create the Hazel Cramer Endowed Scholarship at Sacramento State. The eligibility requirements for the scholarship are broad, as she wanted to support as many eligible students as possible, and by creating the scholarship when she was alive, she was able to meet the students who benefited from the scholarship.

In December 2014, Hazel passed away at the age of 96, leaving a total of more than $3.5 million to Sacramento State through her estate. Of that gift, $1 million will be used to create the Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair in the Department of Public Policy and Administration in the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. It is Sacramento State's first endowed chair and will allow the University to recruit a renowned expert in the discipline to expand the range and quality of offerings for students and promote the campus's reputation as the "Capital Campus."

The funds will be used to attract a talented faculty member as chair, provide research funds and support interaction with the community in a number of ways, such as providing analysis of problems of regional concern.

Helping Others and the University
Hazel also provided for a dear friend by establishing a charitable remainder annuity trust through her estate plans. Her friend will receive a quarterly payment for the rest of her life, and then upon her passing, the remainder will supplement the previously-established Hazel Cramer Endowed Scholarship, ensuring Hazel's legacy at Sacramento State in perpetuity.

Through excellent estate planning, Hazel was able to establish and enjoy an endowed scholarship while she was living, ensure the financial security a friend, and benefit education by supporting students and Sacramento State, which remained her passion.

If you are interested in learning more about gifts of real estate, appreciated securities, charitable gift annuities, or charitable remainder trusts, please give us a call anytime, or explore our website for more information.

Support Future Students
To learn how planned giving can help you assist Sacramento State University students, contact Lora L. Hollingsworth, (916) 278-6115 or