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Hamilton CollegeTeaching Awards Presented to Chemistry, French Professors


Hamilton College's highest awards for teachingwere presented today to a bioinorganic chemist and a linguist who teachesFrench.

Timothy Elgren, assistant professor of chemistry, was named the inauguralrecipient of "The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award,"and Joseph Mwantuali, assistant professor of French, was presented with "TheClass of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award." The recognition took place atHamilton's annual Class and Charter Day celebration, an annual convocationrecognizing student and faculty excellence during the preceding academicyear.

Hamilton College President Eugene M. Tobin called the recipients, "models ofwhat teaching can and should be. These awards reaffirm the singular importanceof excellence in undergraduate teaching at Hamilton."

Timothy Elgren, Chemistry

John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award

Timothy Elgren came to Hamilton in 1993, after a year teaching at Knox Collegein Illinois. He received his bachelor's degree in 1984 from Hamline Universityand his Ph.D. in 1989 from Dartmouth College. From 1990 to 1992, he was apostdoctoral fellow in inorganic biochemistry at the University of Minnesota.

His research focuses on the biological role of metal ions. Elgren hasreceived awards and external funding to support his research from the NationalInstitutes of Health, The American Chemical Society, the Research Corporationand The National Science Foundation. His work has been published in numerousscientific journals -- often with students as co-authors -- and he has beeninvited to present papers and posters at several national symposia.

This summer, with the help of a Class of 1966 Career Development Award, hewill develop investigative laboratory projects that will better equip studentswith the intellectual and experimental skills to facilitate their transitionfrom the instructional laboratory to the research laboratory.

Just as important as the research itself is Elgren's involvement of studentsin his work. "Students who have the privilege of working collaboratively withProfessor Elgren are involved in cutting-edge research," said Dean of theFaculty Bobby Fong, "and there may be no better learning environment that wecan offer our students."

In nominating Elgren for the award, students cited his "enthusiasm," "passion"and "excitement" for his work. "It is easy to feel his enthusiasm towardschemistry," one student wrote, "and the love and excitement he brings toteaching."

Another student said, "I learned to think and work independently -- to proposequestions to myself and to use the chemistry I learned in my classes toformulate possible solutions. ..."

"The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award" was establishedearlier this year by Alfrederic S. Hatch, a 1958 Hamilton graduate, in memoryof his father, who graduated from Hamilton in 1925. It supports an annualprize for a tenure-track faculty member who has been employed by the collegefor fewer than five years, and who has demonstrated superior teaching,high-quality scholarly research, and a significant and positive impact onstudents.

Joseph Mwantuali, French

Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award

Joseph Mwantuali joined the Hamilton faculty in 1995, after completing hisPh.D. in French at The Pennsylvania State University. He also received amaster's degree in community economic development from New Hampshire Collegeand both a master's degree and a bachelor's degree in French and Africanlinguistics from the University of Zaire. His bachelor's degree was awardedmagna cum laude with honors in teaching French.

Throughout much of the 1980s, prior to coming to the United States, Mwantualiserved as a teacher, trainer and language coordinator at the U.S. Peace CorpsTraining Centers in Zaire and Burundi.

The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award adds to an impressive list ofawards Mwantuali has received for his teaching. In 1993, he was named theOutstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year for the Department of French at PennState. He also was named the Outstanding Language Teacher at the Peace CorpsTraining Center in Bukavu, Zaire, in 1986, the Outstanding Student Teacher atthe University of Zaire in 1980, and the Outstanding Student Teacher at theCollege St. Charles Louanga in Watsa, Zaire, in 1977.

"In every setting and in different capacities, Professor Mwantuali hasdemonstrated that he is a teacher of the finest order," said Dean Fong. "Thisaward represents Hamilton's opportunity to recognize the many ways Josephenriches our campus and our students."

In nominating Mwantuali for the award, a student wrote: "His high standards,ability to communicate with students inside as well as outside the classroom,and his energetic and enthusiastic approach to teaching fully demonstrate hiscommitment to teaching and learning. Professor Mwantuali's students learn howto think at higher levels, formulate and express ideas clearly, and have funwith the literature in which they engage. ... He encompasses the intellectual,educational and personal ideals on which Hamilton stands."

Another student said, "I am continually impressed by his passion, depth ofknowledge of his subject area and desire to push students to their intellectuallimits."

The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Awar

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