by Caity Paynich
Raymond F. Holden, Sr. graduated from Kalamazoo College more than a century ago (1907), but his legacy is very much alive. His son, Raymond Jr., made a gift that endows the Raymond F. Holden, Sr. Scholarship in Science. Raymond Jr. passed away in April 2008, and the College received the gift from his Estate Trust in March 2009. That scholarship will affect "K" students far into the future, much like its namesake's song.
Holden, Sr. majored in philosophy but apparently loved writing poetry as well. He was a member of the Sherwood Society and was as liberal arts an athlete as he was a student. The Hornet track and field performer's strongest event was the pole vault, but he also competed in the broad jump, discus, hammer, high jump, and hurdles.
In his senior year he participated in a College-sponsored poetry contest in the hunt for lyrics for a new College song. Holden won, receiving the award for "Best Production." His poem became the lyrics set to original music from musical score contest won by W.F. Dunbar '23. Together, Holden and Dunbar made the song now recognized as the Kalamazoo College Alma Mater.
After graduating from "K", Holden taught chemistry in Kalamazoo and St. Louis, Missouri. He also completed a master's degree from the University of Chicago. He served as a principal with the St. Louis School system for more than 40 years, retiring
He was as liberal arts an athlete as he was a student.in 1947. Holden was married on his commencement day, June 19, 1907, to Miss Fern Reynolds, a graduate of Western Normal (now Western Michigan University). The couple had four children: Raymond F. Jr., Edward R., Ruth E., and Robert B. Holden, Sr. passed away on December 4, 1968. He was 85 years old.
Raymond F. Holden, Jr., M.D., made the estate gift through his trust in memory of his father and to honor his experiences at Kalamazoo College. The younger Holden specialized in internal medicine and practiced in St. Louis and Wichita, Kansas.
Raymond F. Holden, Sr., educator, athlete, lyricist
Holden (back row, right) with his Hornet track mates