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Outstanding Former Faculty|College of Arts and Sciences

William Mulloy* - 2003 - Outstanding Former Faculty

Anthropology Department


     William Mulloy came to the University of Wyoming in 1948 as its first anthropologist.  According to Professor Emeritus George Frison, who came to UW in 1962 as a 37-year-old freshman, except for an occasional visiting lecturer, Mulloy taught all of UW’s anthropology courses.

     Mulloy earned an M.A. in 1948 and a Ph.D. in 1953 from the University of Chicago.  His doctoral dissertation entitled, “A Preliminary Historical Outline for the Northwestern Plains,” is still a standard work on this subject. Mulloy joined a Pacific expedition, during which he and several researchers visited Easter Island, Pitcairn, Tahiti, Rapa Iti, Tubuai, Raivavae, Mangareva, Marquesas, and Cocos.  Participation in this excursion led to a lifelong passion.  Mulloy embarked on a long-term study of Easter Island’s prehistory and history.  He spent nearly five years, engaging in survey, excavation, restoration, and research.  In 1960, he, his wife Emily and their three children, Kathleen, Brigid, and Patrick, went to Easter Island where they lived for a year.   

     Among the great monuments investigated and restored by Mulloy and his colleagues were eight ahu and one ceremonial center on Easter Island and a fortified village on Rapa Iti in French Polynesia.  He also was a consultant for important projects such as the film “Easter Island, Puzzle of the Pacific, produced for television by the American Broadcasting Company.

    In 1978, shortly before his death, Mulloy and his wife made their last visit to Easter Island during which time Hanga Roa’s mayor declared Mulloy “Illustrious Citizen of Easter Island’ for his distinguished and unselfish work on behalf of their community.

      In addition to his prolific research, Mulloy was a remarkable teacher who was well-respected and loved by his students.  Archaeologist Julie Francis, Environmental Services, said, “No UW anthropology student can have possibly escaped the influence of Dr. Mulloy’s dry humor.  We all ‘built character’ sweltering through his classes in A&S 210 on beautiful fall and spring days or freezing through the blizzards as he showed slides of Pacific atolls.  He started every class with, ‘Well folks, where we left off yesterday, we were talking about…’”

     “Professor Mulloy’s effect on my on-going education and abilities as an academic was incalculable, and I will always be grateful for his guidance and friendship,” said Professor Emerita Anne Slater.  “He generally ended his spellbinding lectures with the simple phrase, ‘that’s all, folks.’”

*In loving memory.

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