ITTA BENA, Miss.— Mississippi Valley State University is saddened by the loss of Dr. Joseph Muriuki Wahome, a former associate professor of biology in the Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health.
Wahome passed away last week in Greenwood. He was 55.
A native of Kenya, Wahome will be remembered at MVSU for his love of science and research.
“He was brilliant,” said Dr. Kathie Golden, Wahome’s friend and former colleague. We would banter and argue, but we were never mad with one another. He always promised the take me to Kenya one day.”
Golden said Wahome was well-liked by students, particularly international students, and was always willing to help sponsor International Week activities.
“He was an international student, so he had an affinity for it and understood what it meant not to be able to go home for the holidays,” said Golden. He enjoyed helping students perform research, and did all he could to help student-athletes. I’ve never had a student to complain about him.”
Wahome joined MVSU’s faculty in 1995 as an Assistant Professor of Biology. Prior to that, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the National Park Service’s Golden Gate National Park, Calif.
During his graduate career at the University of California-Berkeley (1990-1995), he served as a graduate student instructor, coordinator of the UC Berkeley Education Abroad International Outreach program and as an assistant in the Education Abroad Office.
During his tenure at MVSU, Wahome held positions with other universities and research organizations. He was a member of the research faculty at the National Marine and Fisheries Science Center in Miami, Fla., a master trainer at the University of Miami and Miami Museum of Science Technology Project, GEMS Associate at the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science, visiting researcher at Baylor University and associate faculty in the University of Pittsburg Semester at Sea program.
At MVSU, Wahome was engaged in several research projects and held a variety of positions. From 2000 to 2001 and 2014 to 2015 he was vice-president of the Faculty Senate, and as senate president from 2015 to 2017. Wahome served as chair of MVSU’s Natural Sciences and Environmental Health Department from 2002 to 2010, during which time he also served as chair of the IRB and Animal Care and Use committee, director of MBRS program, LSMAMP and MBRS Programs.
Wahome was an active researcher, conducting research with both students and faculty that was frequently presented at the Mississippi Academy of Science annual meetings. He published several articles that focus on animal behavior and environmental issues.
Wahome received a Bachelor of Science with honors in 1987 and a Master of Science in Biology of Conservation in 1989, both from the University of Nairobi Kenya. He earned a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1995.
Details of Wahome’s funeral arrangements are forthcoming.