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The magic of math: magician co-teaches accounting class

Elizabeth Phelan | Staff Reporter

The Wednesday morning subsection of Lecturer Michael McLaughlin’s Accounting 2026 class was treated to a performative spectacle, this time in the form of a professional magician.

McLaughlin previously arranged a juggling performance in a different subsection of the accounting class to increase class engagement, which drew crowds and went viral on Instagram. Self-proclaimed “lawyer by day, magician by night” Christian the Magician performed tricks and told jokes that had the audience cheering and laughing in turn.

Although smaller than the juggling performance, there were still students in attendance who were not enrolled in the class. Students both enrolled and outside of McLoughlin’s accounting class responded enthusiastically to the performance.

“It was fantastic. It happens right in front of your eyes,” senior Eric Judson said.

Judson, who is not enrolled in the class, attended after seeing the event posted on the Washington University Barstool account.

“I thought it was good [and] it definitely was out of the ordinary,” sophomore Robert Tillman said. “[McLaughlin] always does stuff like this though, so it wasn’t that surprising.”

Junior Carrie Wager volunteered to participate in one of the magician’s routines.

“I’m actually not [in] that section, I’m in the section that had the jugglers,” Wager said. “I would say that [after] both experiences…people were more engaged.”

Wager enjoyed the performance and appreciated the novelty of the whole affair.

“It’s not something I would have expected at the beginning of the year, but it definitely was a fun way to start class,” Wager said. “How many times are you going to be able to say you had a magician in your accounting class? Not many.”

While the event was less well-attended than the juggling event, Wager said she still enjoyed the energy of the performance.

“I think there were fewer people because it was earlier in the morning,” Wager said. “But it was different because there was audience participation, which was fun, and the guy told dad jokes, so that was interesting.”

Wager said that the unusual antics are typical for McLaughlin’s classes, whose emails promoting the event included tongue-in-cheek comments about University of Chicago students, Anthropology majors and psychedelic mushrooms.

“There are usually memes in his slides, it’s usually pretty entertaining. He tells us stories—weird stories. To be honest, it wasn’t that surprising that he brought a magician or a juggler to class,” Wager said. “Yesterday we were saying that the only thing he could do to surprise us would be to bring a child to class.”

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