06:37 AM

Educator Charles Krohn Embraces Pandemic Online Teaching at 91 with Acting Aplomb

Prof. Charles Stuart Krohn '58With more than 50 years of service to University of St. Thomas, English Professor Charles Stuart Krohn decided to retire—or so it might have seemed to some. His timing appeared impeccable because the world was in the midst of a deadly coronavirus and university students had been moved from the classroom to an online learning environment.

Adapting to Teaching Online

If he were to continue instructing as Professor Emeritus Krohn, he would be faced with conquering online teaching. He would have to adapt to a new way of engaging with students. Teaching online is like learning a new language fraught with confusing rules to memorize and use quickly. Online classes also have to be especially appealing to students to hold their interest.

But not to worry about moving to an online learning environment, Krohn would adapt. Plus, in his skills tool belt, this professor also is a seasoned actor who infuses his in-depth English Literature knowledge with drama to bring the content to life.

Now at 91 years young, Krohn is using technology to teach English Literature, from Shakespeare to Modern Drama, to his students. And, you bet he is using his acting to spice things up.

Consummate Educator and Actor

During his long-time acting career, Professor Krohn performed in more than 40 musicals with TUTS and is currently in his 35th season with the Alley Theatre.

When he received his emeritus title, his chair of the English Department, Clint Brand, said, “Professor Krohn is scheduled for two classes this fall. All of us in the Dept. of English look forward to sharing his good company and benefitting from his wisdom for years to come as he remains a living pillar, a monument and a UST treasure.”

Krohn, a native Houstonian, served more than two years of active duty in the Navy, then earned his BA in English from UST in 1958 and his MA in English from the University of Houston in 1962. He joined the faculty in 1966. Known as a tough grader, Krohn now chuckles and says he has lightened up and mellowed slightly as time marched on. But old grade books, that he recently thumbed through, show his judicious use of an A.

Krohn married Chesley Santoro and has three sons and a daughter, Julia, who also is an actor. It was Julia who snapped a photo of her father, at his desk, giving an online lecture to a monitor filled with faces of his students. Though the delivery system was different, Krohn was still giving his all, to students so far away, yet up close and reachable.