It couldn’t have been easy for young Mary Schramm to be in her accounting class day in and day out in the mid 1940s.
But, as time would prove it, the young Schramm was ready for any challenge.
The Marcolian featured her in a story at the start of the fall 1946 semester.
“Dark-haired, attractive Mary Meyer Schramm will celebrate her twenty-second birthday tomorrow,” the newspaper announced. “But it won’t be any different from any other day, she says. She’ll go to class as usual and teach accounting to the 46 veterans and one woman student enrolled in her three sophomore sections at Marietta College … Miss Schramm, who is younger than most of her students, is the only woman instructor in the Department of Economics and Business Administration. She’s also the youngest faculty member of the College.”
Born in Marietta on July 16, 1924, to Harry ’18 and Rowena Schramm ’22, Mary graduated the valedictorian of her Marietta High School class in 1942 before attending The Ohio State University. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce with honors and distinction in Accounting in 1946. Soon after graduating, she was hired as an instructor at Marietta College. She taught in this capacity until 1949, a year after she married Robert Steers. The couple had two children, Jeff and Leslie.
“I know it’s supposed to be an unusual subject for a woman to teach, however, it offers a constant challenge,” she recalled during one interview. “That’s why I like it, I guess.”
The young accountant constantly displayed that she was capable of success in any situation.
During her time away from Marietta, she had passed the test to become a Certified Public Accountant and was practicing in Washington, D.C. In 1960, when she returned to her hometown, she was a CPA by reciprocity and was actively working in the city. In 1961, she was elected as a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
But also during her absence from Marietta College’s classrooms, she also learned she had multiple sclerosis.
In 1962, she returned to campus as an assistant professor.
Vernon McGrew, author of In the Various Branches of Useful Knowledge, referenced the talent of the assistant professor, who later married William C. Dawkins. “Mrs. Dawkins was an especially capable teacher in her discipline,” McGrew wrote. “Her classes drew ever-increasing enrollments. For several years she taught from a wheelchair.”
Though it wasn’t easy, the mother of two children continued teaching students the principles of accounting and inspiring classes with her intellect and determination.
“I was ambulatory until 1965 when I fell and broke my hip,” she recalled. “However, I didn’t know I had broken it at the time, and walked on it from April to mid July. I kept insisting there was something wrong and finally another set of X-rays showed the fracture, but by then, there was quite a lot of damage.”
At the young age of 46, while still serving on the faculty, Mary Dawkins died. Months later, The Marcolian honored her memory with a feature.
“At the age of 22, she became the youngest instructor on the faculty at Marietta College. Dr. Bert T. Glaze, head of the Department of Economics and Business Administration, said he had always admired Mrs. Dawkins’ courage and added that she will be missed in the department this year. ‘She was an educator with complete command of the subject material and a constant concern for the students she taught.’ ”