Donald J. CRAM (1919 to 2001) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1987. He was born in Vermont, but was the son of William Moffatt CRAM (1869 to 1923) born in Carleton Place, Ontario; the grandson of Isaac CRAM (1844 to 1923) also born in Lanark, and the great-grandson of James CRAM.
Cram was born and raised in Chester, Vermont, to a Scottish immigrant father, and a German immigrant mother who once lived in Carleton Place. His father, William Cram died before Cram turned four, leaving him the only male in a family of five.
He grew up on Aid to Dependent Children, and learned to work at an early age, doing jobs such as picking fruit, tossing newspapers, and painting houses, while bartering for piano lessons. By the time he turned eighteen, he had worked at least eighteen different jobs
Cram once admitted that his career wasn’t without sacrifice. His first wife was Rollins classmate, Jean Turner, who also graduated in 1941, and went on to receive a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. His second wife, Jane, is a former chemistry professor at Mt. Holyoke College. Cram chose not to have any children, “because I would either be a bad father or a bad scientist.”
In 2001, Cram died of cancer at the age of 82
Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Donald J. Cram and Charles J. Pedersen “for their development and use of molecules with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity.” He is the director of the Supramolecular Chemistry Laboratory at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg and a professor at Collège de France in Paris. Lecture presented on May 19, 2008 at Technion Nobel Laureate Symposium.