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AUS mourns death of legendary professor
The American University of Sharjah (AUS) community is mourning the sudden death of its long-time Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Ibrahim El Sadek, early Sunday morning, July 1, 2012 at his residence on the university's campus.
"That the AUS community will deeply miss Dr. Ibrahim El Sadek is an understatement of the highest order. In times like this, perhaps the best way to commemorate Dr. El Sadek's passing is to pause to reflect on why we will miss him so much. I believe that there are many reasons we shall do so. First, Dr. El Sadek is one of the AUS pioneer faculty members; he joined the university when it was founded in 1997. More importantly, Dr. El Sadek lived and breathed the AUS vision of creating a university that would provide first rate education for the youth of the UAE and the Gulf. Because he believed so strongly in this vision, he made sure that his own contributions to the university had great impact," said Dr. Peter Heath, AUS Chancellor.
"Ibrahim also represents the ideal of the devoted and caring teacher, someone who works each day to ensure that his students both understand and enjoy the intricacies of the math courses that he teaches. Ibrahim was a committed researcher, but teaching was his passion. In addition, he was a master of putting a warm human face on the details and requirements of cold university bureaucracy. And finally and most importantly, Ibrahim's students and colleagues will remember him most fondly for his personal characteristics: his quiet intelligence, his constant good humor, his strong integrity and personal honesty, his commitment to professionalism, and his deep wisdom. Yes, indeed, AUS will miss Dr. Ibrahim El Sadek! My sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to Dr. El Sadek's family, his friends, and to all members of the AUS community who knew and loved him," added Dr. Heath.
"It is our honor and privilege that we knew Dr. Ibrahim Sadek for the last fourteen years. The moment we met him and talked to him we knew that we have met an angel on earth. Ever since, he meant everything to us socially and professionally. He was and still is our best friend, our older brother, our teacher, our mentor, and the light through darkness. Ibrahim was not just an excellent teacher, excellent scholar, or exceptional human being; he exceeded all these characteristics. These statements are used to describe amazing people, but Ibrahim was more. We hope that he is in a better place right now and we hope that God will bestow his mercy upon him," said Dr. Taher Abualrub and Dr. Marwan Abukhaled; long time colleagues in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
According to Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, "Dr. Sadek shared himself, his knowledge and his heart with everyone. We are so grateful to have lived alongside him and pray that his life at AUS inspires those qualities of love and kindness in our students and in ourselves. We greatly appreciate everyone's support during the time of great loss."
When I first met Dr. Ibrahim El Sadek, some three years ago, it was at my interview," said senior administrative assistant, Sally Rezeq. "All his questions related to how I would deal with students and their issues; students were his first priority. I often failed to control the flood of students during registration periods; hundreds visited his office every day and Dr. Ibrahim El Sadek met every single student with his trademark smile. Students trusted him. Often, students used to complete their registration in their colleges, but they still came to see him just to double check. Parents also visited him and I always heard laughter from his office. Dr. Ibrahim was a gentleman, a friend and a wonderful boss. Dr. Ibrahim El Sadek will be hugely missed; things will not be the same without him."
Students and alumni alike will remember standing in long lines in front of his office during registration time to get his counsel and advice on class choices and registration issues and he always seemed to have solutions for everyone, which he shared with a smile. He worked tirelessly and selflessly to make AUS a better place for everyone, something which made him a much beloved professor, administrator, friend and colleague.
Current and former AUS students, faculty and staff took to social media to express their condolences for his passing and to pay their tributes to this legendary professor. The AUS Twitter and Facebook platforms were inundated with messages from around the world, with people paying respect to the much beloved professor who was also regarded by many students as a loving and caring father. News of the passing of Dr. El Sadek became the most 'trended' topic on Twitter in a few hours.
"Ibrahim was, in short, an institution. When I first met him, some 10 years ago, he was surrounded by students, and in his death, he was likewise surrounded by students. Students were the last to leave the graveyard on Monday, July 2, after his burial; they sat there tendering the fresh grave," said Dr. Said Faiq, Professor in Arabic and Translation Studies.
"Ibrahim had an extraordinary ability for patience; even when he knew he could not help with an issue, he used to listen to students, parents, faculty and anyone with a question and tried to deconstruct the problem to find ways that could help the person. For Ibrahim, students came first; in this he was absolutely right; they were, and will always be, asset number one of the university. His words were 'I am here to serve the university, but without students there is no university.' Ibrahim did not have children of his own, but he leaves behind perhaps thousands of students who consider him like a father," added Dr. Faiq.
In his professional life, the legendary professor was awarded numerous awards including, Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the University of California, Outstanding Teaching Award from the Queen's University at Kingston, Canada and University of North Carolina at Wilmington Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Research and Creativity from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
His funeral prayers were held at Al Sahabah Mosque in Sharjah, on Monday, July 2, 2012 at noon.
The family of Dr. El Sadek received condolences in the Majlis at the AUS Main Building on July 2 and 3. Poster boards were set up outside the Majlis for people to write a few words for the beloved professor. The massive influx of students, alumni and colleagues wanting to write their final sentiments for Dr. El Sadek saw the university reprinting new posters on an hourly basis.
A great professor and an even greater human being, to know Dr. Sadek was to love him. The AUS community can take pride in the fact that his remarkable presence will forever be ingrained in the foundation of the university.