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May 20 , 2005 Print this page

La Salle University Economics Professor Richard Mshomba
Receives Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching

To La Salle University Economics Professor Richard Mshomba, being a good teacher requires a passion for the subject you teach and a passion for the potential of the students who learn from you. For this commitment, Mshomba was named the recipient of the 2005 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

“Teaching at La Salle is just a very rewarding experience,” Mshomba said. “I try to teach my students to believe in themselves and to know that if they work hard and take advantage of all the opportunities made available by the University and by individual faculty members, they will be successful.”

Mshomba, a native of Tanzania, first came to La Salle when he was 27 through the aid of a missionary and a full scholarship from the University. He graduated in just three years with a double major in economics and philosophy. He went on to attend the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois, where he earned his Ph.D. in economics.

Mshomba, who lives in Abington, has taught at La Salle for 14 years and done extensive research on international and developmental economics, with an emphasis on Africa. Five years ago, he published Africa in the Global Economy, which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book.

The Lindback recipient is selected by a committee of student, faculty, and administrative representatives who base their decision on nominations solicited from all of the University’s full-time faculty members and undergraduate and graduate students.

Those nominations described Mshomba as “inspiring,” “extremely generous with his time,” and “the standard by which all faculty should be chosen.” His students and fellow faculty members commented on his ability to take complex concepts and present them in a clear and understandable manner. “(His students) view him as a scholar who knows how to teach the material,” one colleague wrote. A student wrote that he “always takes extra time to ensure that all of his students understand.”

Mshomba’s contributions to education have extended far beyond La Salle’s campus. He has been a frequent guest analyst on Voice of America, an international broadcasting service run by the U.S. government, since 1993. Speaking in his native language of Swahili, he has offered commentary on various topics, including last year’s U.S. presidential election.

Mshomba and his wife, Elaine, with whom he has three children, keep a house in Tanzania, which they visit every few years, and have allowed missionaries, including Christian Brothers, the religious order that founded La Salle, from Australia, to live there. They have been active participants in their rural community, supporting small-scale development and other community projects in the village where Mshomba was raised.

Watching his students learn and mature during their time at La Salle is reward enough, Mshomba said, but he was honored nonetheless to be singled out by the La Salle community.

“This award inspires me and it challenges me,” he said. “Having been a student here myself, and now having worked here for 14 years, I know that there are many, many excellent teachers here, so to get this award is very humbling.”