April 1, 2003

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UWO "Hippies Hippie" wins teaching honours

By Tippy Toes

Johnny Gorgamorph, a visual arts professor at the University of Wealthy Ontarians, was recently awarded Canada's highest teaching honour for a university professor – the prestigious Ronald McDonald Happyland Fun-time Award for Excellence in the field of teaching and drawing within the lines.

Described as a "Hippie's hippie," Gorgamorph's signature teaching technique involves making difficult concepts, like finger painting, more comprehensible for struggling students.

"At first, I was just eating the paint," said Salvador Picasso, a first-year arts student. "Gorgamorph helped me write a 5,000-word statement of intent, clearly explaining the deeper social messages and artistic merit found in the cannibalization of painting materials. Now I'm getting an 'A' in all my studio classes – I haven't had this much fun while learning since I used to ram crayons up my nose in Grade 1."

Gorgamorph said he has called UWO home for 34 years, after a mechanical problem left him stranded in London during his return trip from the original Woodstock concert. Shortly after being discovered bathing in the Thames River, he was offered tenure.

"Professor Gorgamorph is extremely devoted to the field of visual arts," said Kathy Orbunkle, dean of the faculty of arts. "However, he keeps using the silk screens to make Grateful Dead T-shirts."

Gorgamorph said his interests extend far beyond the realm of academics. He is also the creative genius behind the annual UWO faculty workshop "What else is made out of hemp?" and a speaker at workshops sponsored by the letters W, E and D.

UWO's only previous winner of the award was singer Mariah Carey, who briefly taught a course entitled "Why butterflies are pretty and why that inspires me to dress like a ho," for UWO's philosophy department in 2001, after one of her many mental breakdowns.


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