Frances Elizabeth Hensley Kramer, a former teacher and real estate investor, learned the value of education early in life. After her father passed away when she was 9, her mother, an EKU alumna, sacrificed much to ensure her children received the best education possible.
That education set Kramer up for success. Now she is paying it forward with the Frances Elizabeth Hensley Kramer Endowed Scholarship.
The Kramer scholarship will be awarded to two incoming freshmen demonstrating financial need for the 2020-2021 academic year, one from Leslie County High School and one from Clay County High School. Having spent most of her childhood in the mountains of Leslie County, and with family members in Clay County, Kramer has a special love for its residents, and a strong desire to see its students succeed.
The Kramer scholarship is very much a family affair. Many of her family members, including several children and grandchildren, graduated from EKU, giving her a love for the University and the opportunities it affords students. Kramer funded the scholarship in honor of her parents, Harvey H. and Maude Hyden Hensley; her grandparents, Henry M. and Fannie Chappell Hensley and William Hacker and Mary Baker Hyden; and her great-grandfather, Senator John C. Hyden, Jr. The scholarship is her way of honoring the opportunities they provided her.
“In the 1940s, Maude Hyden Hensley sacrificed a lot to send her children to the best schools she could afford,” said David Kramer, Frances Kramer’s son. “My mother wants to give today’s youth the opportunities her mother gave her and her brother.”
After her father’s passing, Kramer’s mother provided for the family through entrepreneurship. She purchased an apartment building in Lexington, where the family moved when Kramer was 15. Kramer attended Cardome Academy in Georgetown, Kentucky, and later Nazareth School in Bardstown, Kentucky. She went on to graduate from Stevens College with a degree in Art and become an elementary school teacher in Ohio.
Kramer later returned to Kentucky, making several successful real estate investments in Lexington. She acquired two apartment complexes, several single-family homes, and townhomes in the city and rented them to tenants. She also made successful investments in the stock market. In 2006, Kramer and a business partner designed and built a very successful community of townhouses in Lexington
Kramer’s success has taught her, though, that the best investment you can make is in yourself, through education.
“You can never have too much education,” said Kramer. “It helps you see the big picture and become a better citizen. Being successful in school leads to success in life, and that contributes to the good of all humanity.”