Jim was as a dedicated and beloved philosophy teacher at SMC. Jim cared deeply about his students. He often served as the advisor for the Philosophy Club and on the SMC Academic Senate, chairing the Professional Ethics Committee for several years and contributing vastly to the development of SMC’s ethics statement.
Jim was born in Kansas on April 5, 1960. He often joked to his colleagues and friends about that fact because his mother’s name was Dorothy, referring to the classic film, The Wizard of Oz. He attended the University of Kansas and later earned his PhD in philosophy from the University of Southern California. His area of specialization was Ethics, and his dissertation was titled, “Gay virtue: The ethics of disclosure. “
“He walked the talk of virtue in all that he did,” said Dr. Amber Katherine, a dear colleague of Jim’s and a fellow philosophy professor. “He was an atheist, but he argued tirelessly that ethics does not require religion. He believed that humans have the capacities necessary to live well together, especially with use of critical thinking and care for others. He taught these things with skill, good humor, and great success. He didn’t just teach them as subjects to be tested, he taught by example, striving to live by the highest ethical ideals.”
After finding out about his passing, students expressed their love on the SMC facebook group:
“Dr. Stramel was the first professor I had. I wasn’t sure if I’d stick with school but his class was so inspiring and challenging that he made me want to keep going. He was a great teacher [and] I’ll really miss him.” said Tyler Young, a former student of Stramel’s.
“Such a great guy and a pillar of our community. I’m saddened to hear of his passing…he has left such a legacy at SMC. We are all wiser, smarter and more ethical because of his teachings and the knowledge he left us with” – Jeff Gordon
SMC will forever remember the dedicated professor who worked tirelessly and selflessly to teach the value of ethics and virtue.
Jim’s family and colleagues have created the Dr. James Stramel Ethical Scholar Award which will support student success.