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Professor and Associate Dean Jonathan Wright to Receive Inaugural Faculty Alumni Service Award

Jonathan Wright during his first alumni travel/study trip to Alaska in 2000

Professor Jonathan Wright during his first alumni travel/study trip to Alaska in 2000

Jonathan Wright, associate dean and professor of biology, has been selected to receive the inaugural Faculty Alumni Service Award from Pomona’s Alumni Association Board. The award is given “in recognition of exemplary service to the alumni association over a period of years” and will be presented at the Alumni Board’s dinner for new faculty in February.

Wright led his first alumni travel/study program to Alaska in 2000 and, according to Nancy Treser-Osgood, director of alumni relations, the trip was so well reviewed, he has since led four alumni trips: one to the Sea of Cortez/Gulf of California, two to the Galapagos Islands and one down the Amazon River. He also leads Pomona’s yearly alumni whale watching day trips off the California coast.

“It is always a uniquely rewarding experience to lead alumni trips and share interesting company while exploring some of the world’s most magnificent and unspoiled ecological sanctuaries,” says Wright. “Walking in Darwin’s footsteps in the Galapagos and discussing its unique endemic species in the historical context of Darwin’s development of natural selection as an evolutionary mechanism, is a thrill for any biologist. Some of my most rewarding experiences have come from sharing observations and insights with guests, young or old, and visualizing their excitement, whether it be the feeding behavior of humpback whales, spawning crabs in the Sea of Cortez, or the bubble raft of a pelagic sea snail.”

Wright joined the Pomona College faculty in 1989 and has taught Animal Physiology, Invertebrate Biology and Introduction to Ecological and Evolutionary Biology. His research focuses on arthropod physiology and how selection has shaped different physiological systems in the evolutionary transition from marine to terrestrial life. He has twice received the Wig Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching. In July 2011, he was appointed to a three-year term as Associate Dean.

Alumni tours for summer 2012 include a family safari in South Africa with Prof. Nina Karnovsky and a walking tour of Spain following the path of pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James with Prof. Ken Wolf and guide Peter Watson. For more information, visit www.pomona.edu/alumni.