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French professor to leave Mills next spring

Long time Mills French professor Christian Marouby will be retiring as of Spring of 2013.

Marouby has been at Mills since the Fall of 1982. He has taught Elementary French, Essays of the Self, Introduction to French Literature, Contemporary French Culture, Introduction to Literary Criticism, and Introduction to Comparative Literature.

As a mentor, advisor, and professor, Marouby has cherished his time here with the students he has worked with. He said that students are what have kept him here and the reason why he finds it all worth it.

“You really see people grow, bloom, go through hard times, and get through them,” Marouby said.

Grace Osborne, a senior at Mills, had Marouby for both of the Elementary French classes and was his advisee for the Gilman and Fulbright Scholarships.

“He was more interested in what made me, me. He took care to get to know me,” Osborne said.

Marouby transferred to Mills from Miami University of Ohio. Transitioning from a larger school to an all women’s college was a beneficial change for him.

“Human contact is primordial and with students who are in general appreciative and excited,” Marouby said, “There are classes where students are just apathetic, but you don’t have that here.”

Sophomore Amélie Parmidge is taking Essays of the Self with Marouby, which is a history of French autobiographies. As a science major, she finds herself to be very meticulous in her thinking process. She said Marouby has contrasted that with an openness in his teaching style.

“He made the material very accessible and comprehensible,” Parmidge said. “He never makes you feel foolish when you ask a question. He’s there for you.”

Although he is a head of the French program, he and his colleague of 20 years, Brinda Mehta, don’t think of it that way.

“We really respect, admire, and support each other,” Marouby said, “There’s not really a boss.”

Brinda Mehta has not only been a colleague of Marouby’s for 20 years, but has also grown to be a close friend of his. Upon meeting each other, Mehta was intimidated by his overall intelligence and found him to be a “dashing Parisian.” However, they got along right away.

“He is a trustworthy and cherished friend. He is compassionate and sensitive,” Mehta said. “I am going to miss him greatly, I can’t imagine Mills without him.”

Together, they have restructured the entire French program. In addition to language classes, they added Francophone Studies, which emphasizes French-speaking cultures outside of Europe. According to Mehta, they play on each others’ strengths and have been able to create “a very relevant and cutting edge major.”

When searching for his replacement, Marouby found it to be very important that the new French Professor get along really well with Mehta.

“We found someone who I think is going to be really, really fabulous, someone who I think is going to get along really well with Brinda,” he said.

Parmidge said Marouby seemed excited to introduce a new French professor and move onto new things in his life.

However, Marouby’s retirement is a personal decision, and it wasn’t easy for him.

“I don’t want to do this longer than I could be really good at it,” Marouby said.

As a student of Marouby’s for three semesters, Parmidge said, “I certainly will miss him. I hope he enjoys himself.”

While recounting his favorite memories at Mills, like his first literature class of his first semester, Marouby said, “It’s been a gift to have been here.”