Stockton Celebrates 10 Years in Hammonton
Hammonton, N.J. ― It was clear Kramer Hall was more than just a building to everyone attending the 10th anniversary of Stockton University’s Hammonton instructional site April 20.
From the town members who welcomed the revitalization of the former garment building to the students who thrived in the on-site educational programs, about 100 people gathered to celebrate the impact Stockton has had on Hammonton in the last decade.
“Just over 10 years ago, we cut the ribbon on Stockton’s newest location here in Hammonton. The day was cold, but the welcome was warm. Since then, Stockton’s Kramer Hall and the Noyes Museum of Art have been embraced by this town and beyond,” said Christina Birchler, director of the instructional site.
“Kramer Hall has a warmth I never thought a building could have,” said Jennifer Chung of Cherry Hill, who is finishing her master’s degree in Counseling. “Not just from the staff who run it, but the town itself feels like a comforting hug every day when I drive into town.”
Since opening in 2013, Kramer Hall has held over 200 courses with 4,000 enrollments. Currently, the location hosts cohorts of graduate programs in Counseling and Data Science and Strategic Analytics. In the last decade, the site has welcomed over 40,000 guests to more than 1,000 events. Also home to The Noyes Museum of Art, there have been more than 50 exhibits, as well as hundreds of joint efforts with Kramer Hall, offering programming in dance, film and art, said Michael Cagno, executive director of the museum.
“This has been a great partnership for which we are proud. For 10 years the staff of Kramer Hall and the Noyes Museum of Stockton University have dedicated themselves to making this facility an anchor of Hammonton, uniquely combining educational activities and cultural offerings,” President Harvey Kesselman said.
“This is a destination for professional and personal growth as well as community engagement opportunities,” Kesselman said, crediting Charles Kramer, former chair of the Stockton Foundation Board of Directors and Kramer Beverage president, for his role in bringing Stockton to Hammonton.
“There was a lot of support, and over the past 10 years I have watched closely. I have seen how much usage Kramer Hall has had in the community,” Kramer said.
Kramer Hall’s location provides easy access to graduate education in Counseling and Data Science, said Marissa Levy, dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “Students in these two specialties provide services that are greatly lacking in the community. Counseling is one that is especially in high demand” that students bring directly to Hammonton through internships and practicums, Levy said.
Marie Hayden, a Counseling program graduate, recalled her first trip to Kramer Hall after she emigrated to Somers Point from Jamaica in 2018 and was looking for an in-person graduate program. “It felt like a family here, and I was a welcomed member,” Hayden said. “There is a shared dream and dedication to student outcome by all staff members.”
Keiana Dunn, a graduate of the Data Science and Strategic Analytics program and adjunct faculty member, credited that environment and the understanding faculty for helping her finish her degree. “This program allowed me to transition from one career, pursue my passion and follow my true mission. I wanted to make an impact in the community,” Dunn said.
Several at the celebration noted the historical significance of the building.
“This building holds a special place in my heart. It is where my Aunt Rose spent many years as a garment worker. She loved working here. Aunt Rose would be thrilled to see its new life as part of Stockton University,” said Johanna Johnson, a member of the Stockton Foundation Board of Directors who helped spearhead an endowment campaign that raised over $100,000 for scholarships for Hammonton students attending Stockton.
“Kramer Hall is a gem for downtown Hammonton. It is attractive and well maintained. But it would be just a good-looking building if not for what takes place within its walls,” Johnson said. “Classes for those pursuing master’s degrees, cultural activities, varied events and meetings making it an integral part of our community.”
Hammonton Councilperson Jonathan Oliva also noted the history of Kramer Hall, which originally housed the Hammonton Shoe Company in the late 1890s and later the National Garment Factory until the textile industry moved out of Hammonton.
“No doubt the building is special. All along the way, it’s been the people who have made it come together. The people who manage this space have the true impact on the community,” Oliva said.
The celebration highlighted the unique food of the community’s robust restaurant industry. Attendees also had the opportunity to leave their mark, filling in an enlarged replica of a Noyes abstract painting which will be permanently located on the side of the building.
View photos of the anniversary celebration.
―Photos by Susan Allen