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MBA Assistantship at Georgia Southern honors “Duke” Kramer’s legacy in music and business

Charles ‘Duke” Kramer started working for the Gretsch Co. in 1935 at the tender age of 19. By the time he passed away in August 2005, he had logged 70 years extolling the wonders of the Gretsch musical instruments and was known affectionately as ‘Mr. Guitar Man.” Kramer’s love of music and his versatile business expertise will live on through an endowment given in Kramer’s memory by The Gretsch Foundation to Georgia Southern University.

‘We are grateful for the unique and thoughtful way the Gretsch family has chosen to honor Mr. Kramer,” said William I. Griffis, president of the Georgia Southern University Foundation. ‘Their gift will endow the Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship,’ and will support students holding an undergraduate degree in music as they pursue a master’s degree in business administration. This award recognizes not only Mr. Kramer’s love of music, but also his astute knowledge of the music business.”

The endowment creating the ‘Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship” will be held in perpetuity by the Georgia Southern University Foundation, with annual interest being used to award a scholarship each year to one or more deserving MBA applicants who meet the award criteria. The Scholarship Committee will select recipients based on academic qualifications, and the scholarship will be renewable for no more than two years.

Early in his career, Kramer traveled the south and Midwest selling Gretsch instruments. As the youngest salesman in the company, he took the time to talk to store owners and musicians to get an understanding of what they needed in their instruments. He took the information he collected back to the company and was instrumental in creating the famous Gretsch sound. Kramer eventually became vice president of the Chicago division, and when the company was purchased by Baldwin, he ran Gretsch’s Cincinnati division until his retirement in 1980. In his later years he specialized in providing vintage Gretsch guitar parts, dealing with musicians such as Chet Atkins and Georgia Harrison.

Those interested in adding gifts to the ‘Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship” may contact the Georgia Southern University Foundation at 912-681-5253. Those interested in learning how to qualify for the ‘Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship” and other Georgia Southern scholarships may contact the University’s Financial Aid Office at 912-681-5413 or visit the Web site at http://students.georgiasouthern.edu/finaid/.

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