ROE R. Cross Distinguished Professor
William H. Clamurro
2000 - William H. Clamurro
Give Dr. William Clamurro a good book, an oboe, and a classroom and you have pretty much covered his passions.
“I love teaching, both the Spanish language and its literatures, but also the literatures of other languages and cultures,” he says. “I also love reading, and oddly enough, my reading interests go way beyond belles lettres, and include history — ancient and modern — politics, and much else.
“My other passion is music. I play the oboe, and I have had the privilege of being allowed to participate in many ensembles and orchestras over the years. Last but not least, I have a passion for helping young men and women develop intellectually and in their personal growth.”
Clamurro — who is a gifted oboist, who makes his own reeds — draws applause for the depth and breadth of his research along with his teaching skills.
One of his Roe R. Cross nominators wrote that his “students praise his enthusiasm, humor, store of knowledge, and creativity.”
Says Clamurro, “I involve students in my literary-critical research in the sense that, through my classroom interactions with them, I explore and develop the ideas and interpretations that I will later try to incorporate in my written and/or presented (at conferences) works of scholarship. I have also worked with my students in collaborative projects of preparing editions, writing, and related matters.
“Effective teaching involves not only clarity and careful organization of material,” he continues, “but also the active engagement of all students in the activities, projects, and researches relevant to the course. Each student is different and his or her own learning processes may reveal a different pace. With this in mind I strive to communicate my own love for languages, literatures, and cultures so that my students may be moved to find their unique curiosity and commitment to these subjects.”
He hopes his students can feel the passion he has in his teaching and research, and incorporate it into their lives.
“I hope that they take away from me and our classes, our shared interaction and explorations, a love for what I have come to love: the pleasures, conundrums, and redemptive powers of literature, music, art (in the broadest sense), and a tolerance and respect for the complexity of human behaviors, lives, and cultures.”
Clamurro was born in Texas but mostly grew up in northeastern New Jersey. He did his undergraduate study at Amherst College in Massachusetts, and all his graduate studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“My early life in New Jersey gave me a sense of the cultural richness and the subtle conflicts of the metropolitan New York/New Jersey area,” said Clamurro. “Later, my time at Amherst had immense impact on me as a reader and student of literature and culture.”
His time at the University of Washington was interrupted by military service in Vietnam. He later had teaching positions in Mexico, New Jersey, Maryland, and Ohio before arriving at Emporia in the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism, as a teacher and chair. Clamurro said all these experiences had a great impact on his life and his thinking.
“I just feel very fortunate to have had these privileged experiences.”