Professor Challenges Students to Combat Poverty

In an effort to inspire his Genetics class, Augustana's Dr. Mike Wanous challenged his four lab sections to compete in raising money to combat poverty in the world. At semester's end, the team that raised the most money would be able to "do whatever they wanted" with Dr. Wanous' hair.

Dr. Wanous was recently inspired by the book, The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision. Participating in a Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Church in the summer of 2009, he became acquainted with the organization that connects lenders with entrepreneurs around the world. He learned that ordinary people can make a difference in reducing poverty in the world by making micro loans to people who just need a little help and live in places without opportunities most of us take for granted. Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

He was so moved by the message of Richard Stearns' book and the mission of that he shared his enthusiasm with his Genetics class. Dr. Wanous, Augustana's professor of biology, resident geneticist and chair of the natural science division, promised the team that raised the most money would be able to "do whatever they wanted" with his hair. The teams combined to raise more than $3,200 from classmates, professors and others who learned of the competition. And, yes, Dr. Wanous stayed true to his promise and believes that he looks now like he'll look in twenty years. "It has been suggested that I should start considering getting a hairpiece," he offered.

Bruce Conley
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