Cura Personalis: Carol Abromaitis, Ph.D.
July 20, 2010
Carol “Sue” Abromaitis, Ph.D., was born and raised in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. She attended Seton High School and College of Notre Dame of Maryland where she majored in English. After completing her master’s degree and Ph.D. work in 18th Century literature at the University of Maryland, College Park, Abromaitis came to Loyola in January of 1962, where she first taught American literature in the evening school. Forty-eight years later, she sat down with Loyola magazine to talk about some of her favorite things, teaching and literature among them.
ARE COLLEGE KIDS ANY DIFFERENT TODAY THAN THEY WERE IN, SAY, 1962?
It’s a generalization, but I think kids are as smart as, as average as, and as dumb as they’ve ever been. Obviously the socio-economics have changed drastically. When I first came to Loyola, I was teaching Baltimore commuters, all male, and they were mostly from Baltimore’s solid middle-class. Loyola then was able to attract some of the best and brightest Baltimore had to offer. They came from the local parishes and were mostly graduates of the local Catholic high schools. Today, that’s almost all changed, and we now attract upper-middle-class kids from all over the country.
HAVE THE VALUES, GOALS, AND WORK ETHIC CHANGED?
Frankly, no. When you teach a core course, of course you get the students who see the course as something they need to overcome. My favorite students in core courses tend to be science students because they are typically very organized, and they view a task as something to be accomplished in a timely manner. But you do see the whole gamut. Today, students do see—most of them—a connection between the coursework and the money they’re paying. They still have that obligation to their families, and many of them want their parents to be proud of them.