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Loyola celebrates the life of Beatrice Sarlos, Ph.D., professor emerita of education

Beatrice Sarlos, Ph.D., professor emerita of education
Beatrice Sarlos, Ph.D., professor emerita of education, pictured in 1976

Beatrice Sarlos, Ph.D., professor emerita of education, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 22. She was 93.

Sarlos, who joined the Loyola faculty in 1970, taught hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students before retiring in 2001. She had a deep knowledge of curriculum and instruction and worked to promote teacher education throughout Maryland.

“She was extremely bright, she was very committed to teaching, she was committed to research, and she was committed to excellence,” said Lee Richmond, Ph.D., professor emerita of school counseling. “She was the model mentor, and many people who later went on and got doctorates were students of hers.”

Born and raised in Germany, Sarlos recalled meeting Albert Einstein, who came to her family’s home for dinner. He would scribble formulas on her mother’s tablecloth, and she would have to work hard to get the ink out. Sarlos, a little girl at the time, described to Richmond how she would sit under the table during the visits.

“She lived in Germany around the time of the fall of the wall,” said Victor Delclos, Ph.D., professor emeritus of education. “She came here, and I believe she was one of the very earliest tenured female faculty members. When Loyola merged with Mount Saint Agnes College and started accepting women students, she was really a leader among the women faculty members at Loyola.”

As a young woman, Sarlos moved from Germany to Canada before moving to Baltimore. Sarlos, who had studied at the University of Berlin, earned her master’s degree in history and philosophy in 1968 from Loyola and her Ph.D. in Education from The Johns Hopkins University. In Baltimore, she stayed involved in her German heritage and traveled back to Germany to visit family about once a year.

During her tenure at Loyola, Sarlos had a deep impact on the strength of the education department, which was working toward accreditation and would become the School of Education in 2009. 

“She was a valuable colleague and a very supportive person in helping us become a School of Education,” said Delclos. “Her students just loved her. She was a real professor in the classics, and she loved her discipline. She knew it deeply and really invested her life in it.”

During her life, Sarlos carefully built a collection of early children’s textbooks, hunting them down in antique stores. She was particularly interested in the negative portrayal of people of Native American descent in the books and offered an exhibit of part of her book collection in the Julio Fine Arts Gallery around the time of the Education Department’s 50th anniversary.

A mentor to many students, Sarlos will be remembered for the parties she threw for students, opening up her home in Hampden and cooking delicious meals, including golabki and fabulous German desserts.

“She was my first education professor and a huge personality. In my first education class, here comes this woman with a domineering personality and a German accent, and I thought what did I get myself into,” said Heather Moore, ’92, assistant dean of assessment and data management for the School of Education, who served as a work study in the education department while she was a student and reconnected with Sarlos when she returned to Loyola as an employee. “She really had a passion for what she was teaching. I remember learning about the history of education and how she built the history of education for us in a really meaningful way. She was there for her students.”

Among Sarlos’ published works was a book, Joy Without Convenience: Oral History of Maryland's One-Room Schoolhouse Tradition. Outside of her teaching and scholarship, she was a woman of many talents—an expert musician who had played with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, ice skated, and swam the English Channel.

Sarlos is survived by her three daughters, Christina Herrforth, ’81, Virginia Goetz, ’80, MBA ’86, and Paula.

Arrangements will be shared here as they are finalized.