Professor Lloyd Kramer jokingly said he’s been teaching for longer than most of his undergraduate students have been alive. But as a widely respected expert on modern European history, he has consistently been a valuable mentor for students at UNC since 1986.
Kramer’s decision to become a professor was somewhat unexpected. Coming out of college, Kramer was interested in history but figured becoming a lawyer would be the most practical profession for him. While working in Hong Kong, he prepared to apply to law school. But Kramer soon realized that law wasn’t his true passion and decided to move to France.
While studying French, Kramer applied to graduate schools and decided to pursue his Ph.D. at Cornell University. Once he received his degree, Kramer held temporary positions at Stanford University and Northwestern University, but moved to Chapel Hill when he was offered a position to teach.
Kramer has taken several trips to France since his initial visit. The country has become like a sanctuary for Kramer to gather information for his books, attend conferences and teach. During the 1999-2000 school year, Kramer’s family accompanied him and 30 UNC students on a year-long trip while he led the Montpellier study abroad program. Kramer said the students gained valuable experience by being immersed in French culture while learning about the country’s history.
"(History) gives you a way to engage with people who are different from yourself," Kramer said. "When you’re a professor, you can help students understand how other cultures developed and that helps students think about their own language and traditions.”