JANET CARPENTER AS I KNEW HER
Gretchen Hollman Lainson, ’37
Hastings College President Theron B. Maxson once asked me if Miss Janet Carpenter were teaching in the late 1960s, would she still be considered an outstanding teacher? I assured him that indeed she would.
How do I remember her?
Small of stature, keenly alert, bright in expression, reserved, Miss Carpenter met her classes with quiet, old-fashioned dignity. Standing at her lectern, elbow bent and hand by her cheek, she presided with assurance, humor, wit, and grace. Her dedication to her profession, her careful preparation for every lecture and class, her genuine interest in her students, her obvious enjoyment of her subject, and her love for language and literature awakened the dullest among us to a new appreciation for the importance of words.
She took great care in correcting students’ papers, marking each error and writing in the margins her explanations and suggestions about those corrections. Her class in Word Study was especially memorable and a favorite with her students.
Miss Carpenter was a keen judge of character and ability and observed her students’ progress closely. From her office on the right of the front door of McCormick Hall she could see students come and go on the campus, and her office was open with or without appointments.
Among the courses she taught was a full semester on the works of Robert Browning. I was privileged to enroll in that course after graduation, when there was time to savor the assignments. Miss Carpenter’s scholarship and interpretation of Browning’s genius has been a pleasure for me all these years since.
Miss Janet Carpenter is not just a name from Hastings College’s past. She is a respected, admired, and gratefully remembered Professor of English for the many generations of students who carried the stamp of her teaching throughout their lives.