Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 2.
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The 2005 Wigs
Six win 2005 Wig Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Six faculty members were praised for their commitment, their grasp of subject matter and their ability to stimulate students in and outside the classroom when recognized with the 2005 Wig Distinguished Professor Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Professors Edward “EJ” Crane III, Paul E. Hurley, Zayn R. Kassam, Michael K. Kuehlwein, Patrick H. Mulcahy ’66 and Paul K. Saint-Amour were this year’s award recipients.

Established by Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Wig in 1955, junior and senior classes elect exceptional faculty members which are then confirmed by a committee of trustees, faculty and students. The awards were announced at Pomona’s 112th Commencement held on May 15, 2005.
Crane, an assistant professor of chemistry, joined the faculty in 2002 and teaches Biochemistry and Advanced Biochemistry. “Professor Crane has a talent for capturing and presenting the most interesting aspects of the subject matter he teaches,” wrote a student. “He has a fun and relaxed teaching style, while at the same time encouraging a high level of performance from his students.” He holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. from St. Cloud State University. His research focuses on the biochemistry of organisms that live in hydrothermal vent environments, both at the ocean floor and deep underground. He is particularly interested in how these organisms survive in environments that are both incredibly hot and highly toxic.

Winners of the 2005 Wig Awards are, from left to right: Zayn Kassam, Michael Kuehlwein, Paul Saint Amour, E.J. Crane, Patrick Mulcahy  and Paul Hurley.
This is the third Wig Award for Hurley, professor of philosophy, who teaches Ethics; Meta-Ethics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, and Freedom, Markets and Well-Being. “Professor Hurley hides his biases more effectively than any human being I’ve ever met,” said a student. “He can argue six sides to most issues and yet still have his opinions remain completely mysterious.” A member of the faculty since 1988, Hurley researches issues of consequentialism, moral ethics and issues of trust, happiness, forgiveness, democracy and lying. He earned his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Kassam, associate professor of religious studies and chair of the Religious Studies Department, joined the faculty in 1995. She teaches The Religion of Islam, Islamic Thought, Engendering and Experience: Women in the Islamic Tradition, The Divine Body and Interpreting Religious Worlds. This is her second Wig Award. “Professor Kassam is an amazing teacher with an ability to synthesize a broad spectrum of material into a coherent and fascinating take on a subject,” said a student. “Class discussions (spill) out of the classroom, into the dining and residence halls, and even onto forums in cyberspace.” She received her B.A, M.A. and Ph.D. from McGill University. In her research, Kassam focuses on Islamic ethics, gender issues, philosophy and mysticism.

Kuehlwein, the George E. and Nancy O. Moss Professor of Economics, joined the faculty in 1987. A three-time Wig Award recipient, he teaches Principles of Macroeconomics, Macroeconomic Theory and a senior seminar. “No one makes material come alive like Professor Kuehlwein,” said a student. “I have never seen a man so excited to run up to a blackboard to draw a supply and demand diagram. His excitement about economics is contagious.” He holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. His research interests range from consumer spending and savings to the effects of budget deficits on interest rates in Thailand and the effect of railroads on wheat prices in 19th-century India.

Mulcahy, a professor of physical education, is also the Pomona-Pitzer men’s track and cross-country coach. Since his arrival in 1969, he has coached 38 athletes to 67 NCAA All-American performances. He teaches activity classes in badminton, weight training and golf, plus a sociology class entitled Mind, Culture and Sport. “Pat’s influence extends beyond the athletic field and into so many other important aspects of his athletes’ lives,” wrote a student. Mulcahy is one of the foremost field events coaches in the country and has served as an assistant coach for both men and women on national teams that toured the Philippines and Taiwan, giving clinics to coaches of both countries. Named the men’s West Region Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2004, he earned his B.A. from Pomona College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Two-time Wig Award recipient Paul Saint-Amour, an associate professor of English, joined the faculty in 1997. He teaches Modern British Literature, British Novel II, Literature of the Victorian Period, Subcontinent Literatures in English, Henry James and his Contemporaries, James Joyce and Late Joyce and his Legacies. A student said, “He embodies everything we should cherish as an intellectual community: brilliance, eloquence, humility and most importantly, compassion.” He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Stanford University. Saint-Amour’s book, The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination (2003) was recently recognized with the Modern Language Association’s Best First Book Award.

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