This is the fourth in a series of Garfield Log stories through which Hiram students and their professors share the type of connections that define the ideal college, just as famous alumnus President James A. Garfield intended. Today on the Garfield Log, James Leanza, a junior majoring in accounting and financial management, joins his favorite professor Richard Mole, CPA, who has been teaching accounting and financial management at Hiram for four years.
James, out of all the professors you’ve had at Hiram what makes Professor Mole your favorite?
James: Most days I remember him staying late with us until we understood the material. This is a prime example of one of his many great qualities. He always goes the extra mile and will never turn a student down who needs help.
Professor Mole, how does it feel to be selected by James as his favorite professor?
Professor Mole: It is a really humbling experience to find out that one of your students thinks of you as a “favorite professor.” This honor makes me even more determined to develop my teaching skills and be better at my craft. Jimmy’s influence has already made me a better professor; we have learned a lot from each other. I also get an enormous inspiration from my fellow colleagues here at Hiram.
Can the two of you tell me a little more about the organization with which you are involved?
James: I’m the president of the Institute of Management Accountants and I’m so grateful that Professor Mole stepped up and became the faculty advisor for it. He also helps in the progression of the Accounting Club.
Professor Mole: I am amazed at his leadership and organizational skills. He helped make our student chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants blossom and helps keep it running smoothly and efficiently. He’s even leading a group of students with him to the Student Leadership Conference of the IMA [Institute of Management Accountants] in Detroit.
James, I also understand that Professor Mole has also been extremely supportive and helpful outside of the classroom. Would you please elaborate on this?
James: Yes, in December of 2015 my father passed away and Professor Mole even came to the funeral to pay his condolences. My family and I were surprised to see him there. That gesture of kindness has stayed with me. He wants to genuinely connect to his students. He is the essence of a good professor inside and outside of the classroom.
James, how has Professor Mole helped prepare you for the future?
James: The knowledge in my field coupled with the life lessons that he has instilled in me in the three short years I’ve known him have prepared me for whatever else lies in store. People always dream of finding a lifelong mentor when they come to college and I found that in him.
Professor Mole, we’ve talked quite a bit about why you’re his favorite professor, but tell me what makes James stand out as a student?
Professor Mole: He has this smile and inexhaustible energy and he visits me almost every day I’m on campus. He has “one of those minds” and always wants to know more. He will work until he can’t or his computer runs out of batter to understand parts of a subject he doesn’t quite understand yet. And while I love sharing my 40-year work experience with students, I get even more excited when I learn something new myself every day. I’m happy to have had the privilege of mentoring him. He will make a difference!