News Luers Named Gc Professor Emerita - Garrett College
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Campus News

April 26th, 2022

Luers named GC professor emerita

Luers – who never intended to teach – served 32 years at GC


Beth Leurs

Beth Luers never thought she would be a teacher – which makes Garrett College's decision to award her professor emerita status even more impressive.

Luers, who served 32 years on the Garrett College faculty, will be recognized at the College's 50th commencement exercises on May 21st. Luers will be honored along with retired Professor of Communications and Theatre Ben Sincell, who also spent 32 years on the GC faculty.

Both Luers and Sincell were unanimously recommended by the Garrett College faculty, with the Garrett College Board of Trustees unanimously approving the faculty's recommendations.

"I enjoyed my career at Garrett. The College gave me wonderful opportunities to expand my knowledge of history that I then passed on to my students," said Luers, who retired in 2016. "For me, Garrett College was a small, caring community with the goal of supporting and educating our students. Garrett College was a family."

Luers said she "came from a long line of teachers."

"My parents, my aunts, and my brother were all teachers," she recalled. "I thought I would have a different career. In college I studied French, then joined the Peace Corp and went to West Africa – where they made me a teacher. It took me about 10 years to admit that I liked teaching."

A Baltimore native, Luers began her Garrett College career by running a tutoring program and then moved over to the faculty side, eventually teaching development courses, English, history and cultural geography.

"No curriculum challenge was ever too much for her," said Dr. Lillian Mitchell, Garrett College's dean of academic and student affairs emerita. "Whatever she needed to do to present interesting and challenging coursework to students she made happen."

Lori Youse, a retired Garrett College assistant professor, said her office was directly across the hall from Luers' office during Youse's final years at GC.

"It was inspiring to watch as she prepared serious and meaningful lessons for her students," said Youse. "As hard as she worked as a professor, she was equally dedicated to providing meaningful lectures for the Joan Crawford Lecture Series and worked tirelessly to coordinate all the details."

Luers started the Joan Crawford Lecture Series in honor of the late GC professor. The series brought to the College lectures open to both students and community members on a wide range of interesting topics.

"I told speakers I had no budget, but could write a really nice thank-you note," said Luers.

The series, which was discontinued in 2016, was rebooted last fall. Luers was one of the fall 2021 presenters, speaking on a subject – the Holocaust – for which she spent a considerable amount of time raising awareness during her professorial career.

"I'd been interested in the Holocaust since I was 8," recalled Luers, whose father was a history teacher. "At the age when kids were picking up Dr. Seuss books, I tried to read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."

"Professor Luers' special interest and passion was related to studies on the Holocaust," recalled Dr. Mitchell. "She brought the human element of that tragic period into perspective as she connected with Holocaust survivors on a personal level."

While at Garrett, Luers took students to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. She also introduced students to several Holocaust survivors, traveled to Eastern Europe and its Holocaust sites with students, and taught extra history courses for continuing education.

"I recall the evening when one of the Holocaust survivors made a presentation in the college auditorium," said Dr. Mitchell. "Not only was it standing-room-only, but people were seated on the floor to hear an authentic account from an elderly survivor."

Luers also wrote a book, with the encouragement of Holocaust survivor Martin Gray, about three Holocaust survivors entitled Creating Light.

"It was important to Beth that these stories be shared and that people not become complacent about this history," said Youse.

Beth and Bob Luers have two children. Daughter Ann is a captain in the U.S. Navy, with plans to retire next year. Son Scott is a retired Navy captain. Beth and Bob – who is himself a retired high school history teacher – have four grandchildren.