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PhD, Oxford University

Professor of Australian Literature and Chancellor, University of Sydney; Chancellor, University of Australia.

Author of: Myself When Laura: Fact and Fiction in Henry Handel Richardson's School Career (1966); A.D. Hope (1979)

Dame Leonie Kramer (1924–2016) was born in Melbourne, Australia. She began her journey as an academic pioneer by attending Presbyterian Ladies’ College. In 1945, she graduated with honors from the University of Melbourne. Leonie married Harold Kramer in 1952, and their family grew to include two daughters.

After attaining her doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1953, Kramer tutored at St. Hugh's College and served the University of New South Wales as lecturer and associate professor of English. In 1968 she became the first female English professor at the University of Oxford, as the second professor of Australian Literature. Leonie was the first female tutor for the Newman College at the University of Melbourne and was the first woman to be chairperson for the Quadrant.

In January of 1976, Kramer was named Ordinary Officer of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order (OBE) and in December 1982 received the honor of Ordinary Dame Commander of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order (DBE) for her civilian service in the field of education.

Dr. Kramer edited The Oxford Anthology of Australian Literature in 1981. From 1982–1983, she led the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as the first female chairperson. She also served for 10 years as chancellor of the University of Sydney (1991–2001), the first woman to occupy that position.

Kramer also received a Doctor of Literature from the University of Tasmania in 1977, a Doctor of Law from both the University of Melbourne (1983) and the Australian National University (1984), as well as the Doctor of Letters from the University of Sydney in 2009. Her memoir was published in 2012, entitled Broomstick: Personal Reflections of Leonie Kramer. Dame Leonie Kramer’s accomplishments are a testament to her leadership and commitment to education. She was known for her conservative views, resolve, and dedication as an educator.

Kappa Delta Pi invited her to join the Laureate Chapter in 1994.

Contributed by Eugenia B. Hopper, University of North Carolina Charlotte
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