In memoriam: Pomona biology professor Jonathan Wright

A man standing in a field holds a plastic tube.
Pomona biology professor Jonathan Wright died suddenly Monday (Courtesy of Pomona College).

Pomona College biology professor Jonathan Wright died suddenly Monday night, Dean of the College Robert Gaines announced in an email to students.

Gaines praised Wright’s “unsurpassed ability to communicate not only his encyclopedic knowledge in his chosen field of comparative physiology, but also his untiring sense of wonder at the big and little mysteries he had devoted his life to studying.”

Wright was born in Great Britain and earned his bachelor’s, masters and doctorate at Oxford University, according to Gaines. He came to Pomona in 1998.

Wright was a two-time winner of the student-nominated Wig Award for excellence in teaching, the highest award for Pomona faculty, Gaines said. He was also a former associate dean of the college and chair of the Biology Department.

In his email, Gaines quoted one of Wright’s recent students as saying Wright inspired students “to see and explore how science can make the seemingly mundane seem incredible.”

In addition to his interest in biology, Wright was a passionate musician, Gaines said. He was a longtime violin player who played in the Pomona College Symphony, the faculty string quartet Euphoria and a violin-piano duo, among other groups.

The Seaver Biology Building’s seminar room will be open Tuesday for students to gather to remember Wright, according to Gaines. Pomona’s Employee Assistance Program is available 24 hours daily at (800) 234-5465.

Plans for a memorial service have not yet been announced, Gaines said.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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