Two beloved professors mark four decades at CMC
For Prof. Marc Massoud, four decades at CMC add up to a significant impact for students, alumni
It doesn’t take a CPA to calculate the impact Prof. Morcos (Marc) Massoud P’89 has made during his four decades at CMC–not just on the College, but on the countless students who have taken his “Introduction to Accounting” course over the years.
The lifelong impression on his students can be easily quantified. Every holiday season, Massoud, who is the Robert Day Distinguished Professor of Accounting at CMC, estimates that he receives nearly 300 cards from Claremont McKenna alumni. And, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Massoud would spend his summers traveling to the weddings of his former students. Now, during the pandemic, his email queue is packed with inquiries about his well-being.Read more
Honors for Prof. Massoud
- CMC Presidential Award for Merit
- 13-time recipient of the Glenn R. Huntoon Award for Superior Teaching
- Honorary member of the CMC Alumni Association
- Recipient of CMC Alumni Association’s Jack L. Stark ’57 GP ’11 Distinguished Service award
- Recipient of John P. Faranda ’79 Student Service Award
Before joining CMC in 1980, Massoud– who was born and raised in Egypt— admits that he was skeptical about teaching at a small liberal arts college. He earned his MBA and a PhD in accounting from New York University, and had spent most of his career at larger institutions where Massoud grew accustomed to a more business school-focused environment. But the opportunity to grow and enhance the accounting department at CMC was hard to resist. Over the decades under his leadership, the department has expanded, from one faculty member into a program that now boasts seven full-time, tenured faculty and two part-time professors.
Massoud considers the small class sizes at CMC to be a bonus because he gets to know his students–-“I enjoy being involved in their lives”–and appreciates their intellectual maturity.
“I tell them, ‘If you are at CMC, you are clearly smart. Let’s have fun together, and if you fail, I fail, but we need to win together.’ I am in a partnership with my students to help them succeed. I even get to know their parents! I tell their parents that I am willing to come to campus to meet them, because we share a common interest--the success of their child.”
Massoud considers his students as members of his family, and they return the favor, by often calling him “Dad.”
Massoud’s son Ihab “Joe” Massoud ’89 took one of his father’s courses. “I was hard on him,” Massoud confessed. “But he was a good student.”
The two are both donors to the Vivienne Massoud Memorial scholarship, which Massoud established in memory of his late wife.
Massoud’s teaching methods have paid off. In 2010, he was honored with the CMC Presidential Award for Merit, given to “faculty members who epitomize the teacher-scholar model and have demonstrated outstanding service to the College.” In addition, he is a 13-time recipient of the Glenn R. Huntoon Award for Superior Teaching. An honorary member of the CMC Alumni Association, he has also been honored with the Association’s Jack L. Stark ’57 GP ’11 Distinguished Service award, as well as the John P. Faranda ’79 Student Service Award.
In 2007, grateful alumni established the Morcos Massoud Chair of Accounting in his honor.
“Prof. Massoud epitomizes the CMC culture. He’s the standard by which you’d want everyone to live,” said Stella Ho ’96, who took Massoud’s “Introduction to Accounting” and “Intermediate Accounting” courses. “Prof. Massoud is the type of person who goes above and beyond, and he encourages his students to put everything they’ve got into everything that they do. It’s how he teaches, and that’s how dedicated he is to his students, which is why they feel so connected to him, because they see how much he cares,” she said.
After graduating, she maintained a relationship with CMC and stayed in touch with Massoud. “I returned to campus a number of times to do recruiting,” said Ho, who is now chief compliance officer and head of business operations for LightBay Capital, a private equity firm. “Massoud asked me to help out and speak to students about career options and to attend the Annual Accounting Banquet. He is such a good human being, when he asks you for something, you can’t say no.”
And, yes, Massoud attended her wedding.
The biggest changes he’s witnessed over the past 40 years at CMC are the increase in student population, as well as a broadening of academic majors. “When I joined CMC, government and economics were really the only two significant departments,” he said. Massoud describes CMC and its students as “well-balanced, more so than when I joined. Now, you can come to CMC and major in just about any subject.”
Massoud spent the fall 2020 semester on sabbatical. He’s eager to return to the classroom and to his students for his 41st year at CMC. As the Claremont Accounting Association’s faculty advisor, he misses meeting with his students in person.
And, when the travel restrictions ease, he expects he’ll return to the wedding circuit because he said, “it’s an honor for me to join them on the best days of their lives.”
After 40 years on campus, Prof. Nicholas Warner extols the CMC culture
When Prof. Nicholas Warner joined the CMC faculty in 1980, students didn’t have cell phones or laptops, and there were no social media platforms.
As Warner recently observed, while technology has transformed our lives over the past four decades, what’s remained the same is the College’s collegial sense of community.
“The biggest changes have been in the world and in the society around us,” said Warner, who has taught courses in Russian, American and English literature since his first year at CMC. “But the College’s atmosphere, its blend of efficient professionalism with personal warmth, has remained surprisingly consistent over the years. I feel that today, just as I did 40 years ago.”
For example, he said, “I can call the registrar’s office, and the staff know my voice and I know theirs. You don’t have to be here for 40 years, or even four years, for this kind of relationship to develop.”
Warner earned his BA from Stanford University and his Master’s and PhD in English from UC Berkeley, and he taught for two years at Oberlin College before arriving at CMC. In addition to literature classes, Warner also teaches courses on the western and war film genres.Read more
He has received a total of eight Glenn R. Huntoon or G. David Huntoon teaching awards over a span of 30 years, winning the first of these awards in 1983, and the eighth in 2013.
He has also served CMC as the Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, as well as the Associate Dean of Faculty and Director of the Freshman Humanities Program.
CMC students, he said, share certain qualities. “I find our students have a friendly, outgoing, down-to-earth attitude. For me, teaching is a two-way street, you meet the students halfway and they meet you halfway. I feel very much that at CMC the students and faculty are working together toward a common goal.”
Warner served as the senior thesis adviser for Zoey Ru ’20, who recalled Warner’s “19th Century Russian Novel” as her favorite course at CMC. "Prof. Warner speaks Russian and he would read passages out loud in the original written language, just so that his students could appreciate Alexander Pushkin’s ingenious use of words’ sounds. I often borrow the way Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recalled and described her college literature professor — the famous Vladimir Nabokov — to encapsulate Prof. Warner and his impact on my own learning, when she said that Nabokov taught her the importance of choosing the right word and presenting it in the right word order."
Warner sees obvious ways that CMC is distinguished from other colleges, such as the College’s “mission, its unusual history, and the Athenaeum speaker series.” However, what’s less obvious, he said, is something that can be found “in the strength of connection that alumni feel, that people associated with the college feel. It’s a feeling of familiarity when people discover that they share a connection to CMC, even if they hadn’t met before.”
“The friendships and the relationships with students that begin here don’t end at commencement, they continue long after,” he said. “And I’m grateful for that.”