Story posted October 15, 2010
The estates of Bion Cram, a member of the Class of 1937, and his longtime partner John McCoy have bequeathed Bowdoin gifts totaling more than $17. 3 million, representing the most generous estate gifts ever made to the College.
Cram, a retired stockbroker who lived in Kennebunk, Maine, and Indialantic, Fla., died in December 2008 at the age of 93.
Cram's gifts to Bowdoin total more than $13.5 million and include the establishment of both the Bion Cram Chair in Economics and the Cram Scholarship Fund. McCoy, who died shortly before Bion's passing, has given Bowdoin additional gifts of nearly $3.8 million through his estate — all for scholarship endowment.
"This gift makes possible the very generosity that once benefitted Bion himself," says President Barry Mills. "Bion would speak about how, were it not for a generous Bowdoin benefactor, he would have had to drop out of College. He amassed his fortune in the stock market and set about the business of giving back, and the College is profoundly grateful to Bion and John for this generous and meaningful gift."
Cram's tremendous legacy is shared by two Maine schools; in addition to his gift to Bowdoin, Cram also left nearly $15 million to his other alma mater, Fryeburg Academy.
Graduating in the midst of the Great Depression, Cram was the first of his college classmates to secure a job. Thanks to a recommendation from prominent businessman and financier Harvey Dow Gibson, who was also an alumnus of both Fryeburg Academy and Bowdoin, Cram earned a coveted entry-level position at the Manufacturer's Trust Company in New York City, where Gibson was President.
Cram ultimately entered the world of investment banking, enjoying a highly successful career that spanned more than three decades until his retirement in 1982.