Michael W. Kramer

Professor and Chair
Department of Communication

University of Oklahoma

Office: 405-325- 9503        Email: Michael Kramer


Since you have visited this particular page, you apparently want to know a little more about what I do outside my professor role. You've probably seen me wearing a tie, like I do when I teach (except during the summer). You'll note from the picture here, that there's an informal side of me, too.

Here are a few highlights of my life away from being a professor:

Places I've Lived: I was born in Louisville, KY, grew up in Des Peres (St. Louis suburb), MO, went to junior high and high school in Ann Arbor, MI, and attended college in Ann Arbor and Seward, NE. Since graduating from college I have lived in New York City, Chicago, IL, Austin, TX, and Columbia, MO, prior to moving to Norman, OK.

Family: My wife, Carla, and I have been married for over 38 years. We have two children. Our son works for a technology company that installs equipment in banks. He trains employees on how to use the equipment once it is installed. He lives in Columbia, MO along with his wife and our granddaughter.  Our daughter who graduated from Valparaiso University in May 2007 with a degree in social work and an MSW from Colorado State University in 2010. She lives in Colorado with her husband and our grandson. She works for a social services agency in Gunnison, CO.

I also should mention my parents as part of my family. They moved to Columbia, MO to live near one of their children as they aged and then moved to Norman, OK with us when we moved. They live in the same neighborhood and so we see them regularly.

Activities: In the past I coached my son's and daughter's soccer teams. My daughter's team went undefeated with a gold medal the last season I coached her. If you are ever in my office, ask me about the picture of the soccer teams on my wall. My coaching days are over now.

I enjoy owning a home and use my skills to do things like paint, hang ceiling fans, finish basements, remodel bathrooms, and remodel kitchens. I enjoy planting trees and gardening. General yard work is okay.

In the summer of 2000 I did something I had not done in 25 years. I tried out for a community theatre production of Inherit the Wind. I received the part of Henry Drummond, the lawyer for the defense. I received quite a bit of positive feedback concerning my performance and also turned the experience into a research project, an ethnography of community theater. The summer of 2001 I also was in another courtroom drama. I was Juror #8 (made famous by Henry Fonda) in a production of Twelve Angry Men. The next summer I tried out for a musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I was pleasantly surprised to be cast as one of Joseph's eleven brothers. I was obviously one of the older brothers. Despite my age, I was able to win the Twister contest at one of the cast parties. I have publishing two additional ethnographies based on my experiences in that production. Summer 2004 I appeared in To Kill a Mockingbird. During the winter 2005 I appeared in Fool for Love, an unusual play by Sam Shepard, at the University of Missouri. It was the only time I appeared on the stage there. I publishing some articles from it. In Fall 2006 I appeared as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. It's a role I very much wanted to play in college, but did not get a chance and now I have done it. I suspect it will be my last lead in musical theater. It took me a while, but I finally got involved in community theater in Oklahoma when I played Byron, one of two characters, in Sam Shepard's Ages of the Moon at the Carpenter Square Theater in Oklahoma City in January 2018.

I've written five full-length plays. The first, Eight Hours, is a play about the career of a high school teacher. It was read outloud at the Missouri Playwrights Workshop in September 2000. I hope someone will want to produce it someday. I finished a draft of one called Empty Nest, a play about a high school reunion of 5 friends and their spouses/partners. It was also read Missouri Playwrights Workshop in September 2005. I completed E-Maul in the Fall of 2005, a play about the troubles that occur when a married, middle-aged man reconnects with an old high school girlfriend. It was read in November 2005. I later changed the name of it to Not Then, Not Now. It won two small contents at community theater groups and received public readings in Ann Arbor, MI and Charleston, SC. It also was a semi-finalist in the Eugene O'Neill national competion in 2010. In February 2006, I wrote a called One by One: A Community Theater Murder Mystery. It's about a community theater group in which jealousy and murder become part of a production. It received a reading in the Missouri Comedy in Concerts series. I recently finished a play The Wager. I am revising it and hoping to have it read soon. Writing plays has become a hobby of mine although I've been a bit busy since moving to Oklahoma to do much of it. I have ideas for several more.


I run and exercise about four times a week and have enter 5K or 10K races for the past 25 years. My personal best is 20:45 for a 5K quite a few years ago. I ran a half-marathons back in 1988 and 1989 and surprised myself by matching my time in May 2003, almost 15 years later..

In the spring of 2001, I joined Team Diabetes and trained to run a Marathon. I raised over $7950 for the American Diabetes Association. I ran in the marathon on June 24 in Kona, Hawaii. I came in 231 out of 981 participants, good enough to finish in the top 25%. I finished a little slower than I expected, 4 hours, 32 minutes, and 29 seconds.

The most amazing thing about the marathon experience was that I came in second in fundraising in the nation for Team Diabetes out of about 650 participants.

I can tell you that I never thought I could complete a marathon, but I did. The emotions of finishing are an incredible mixture of joy, relief, and many other emotions. The pain comes later, although I didn't have too much. I felt the same emotions when they announced that I was second in fund raising.

I'm including a pictures from that race. It looks like I'm walking at the finish because I had already crossed the finish line and was checking my time on my watch. After 26.2 miles, why run one step further than you need to?

I finally admitted that I was a runner when I started training for my second marathon. That time I raise money for Missouri's Department of Communication's Graduate Student Support Fund. Due to the generousity of faculty, alumni, and friends, we raised over $8000 for that fund. In April 2004 I finally achieved my timing goal for a marathon when I completed the St. Louis Marathon in 3:47. I always thought I could break 4 hours and I finally did. I have now run in four marathons, most recently in 2011. That one did not go so well.

In the fall of 2012 I entered my first mini-triathlon in Norman. It's nothing like an ironman triatholon. It's only 500 yards of swimming, 12 miles of biking and a 5K run. I finished in less than 90 minutes. Recently, because I am getting older, I have started placing or even winning in my age group. This past year I have placed first in my age group in both an outdoor mini-triathlon and an indoor one. It just goes to show that if you run long enough you will outlast your competition.

In the spring of 2013 I organized a relay team of runners of graduate students and faculty members in the Department of Communication at Oklahoma. I thought we would do well as a team, but was even more surprised when we came in first place in our division. We have had teams for four years now and have placed first or second each year. We have the trophies in Burton Hall to show for it.

Politics: In Oklahoma, where you have to register a party affiliation, I am registered as an independent. I would be happy to discuss privately why I am stanchly independent, and not just undecided.

Church: I have been an active member of a church my whole life. I would be happy to talk to you more about this in private.

Vacations: I grew up enjoying family vacations with my parents, two sisters and my brother. Now we go to a lot of family reunions for vacation or weddings of my nieces and nephews. As a family, we have gone white water rafter in Utah and West Virginia. We visited Disney World and the Grand Canyon. More recently, with our children mostly grown up, Carla and I have traveled to more exotic places like Cancun and Cozumel. We spent our 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii after the marathon that summer. We continue to enjoy the beauty of our nation having gone on a trip to Montana and then visiting Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. We've enjoyed canoeing on the Current River in Missouri and a trip to Park City, Utah. Another summer we went to Door County, Wisconsin. It was cherry picking season and very slow paced and relaxing. Recent summers seem to involve trips to various locations for marriages of nieces and nephews. It’s a good way to see family members. We went on a cruise, train, bus, riverboat, bus, train trip through Alaska a one summer. It's an amazing state. We explored Oregon and Washington one summer. In 2014 we visited Idaho and North Dakota. We have now visited all 50 of the states. It was on my bucket list.

It wasn't exactly a vacation since I was teaching a class, but we enjoyed a trip to Germany in 2011. It was a wonderful experience. The lifestyle is quite different, more relaxed. The countryside is beautiful. Except for the flight time, we would welcome a chance to go back again. We visited London as part of attending an ICA conference. My wife an I enjoyed taking the Tube everywhere, seeing lots of museums, and we were fortunate to see three terrific theater performances and we stood in line for hours to get a chance to see some tennis at Wimbledon.

This summer, we visited China for 10 days. It was also a combination work and vacation activity as I lectured in three universities there. We did more sightseeing than work, but got a sense of the culture of China--very different!

houseWe enjoyed a hot air balloon ride back in 2004. Here's a picture of our house in Columbia from the balloon. We have since moved to Norman, Oklahoma and live in a neighborhood instead of out in the country. You don't see hot air ballons in Norman. It's too windy too much of the time to be a viable activity.