Monday, April 20, 2009

R.I.P. Dr. Sabah Abdel Aziz

Facebook has become my favorite tool to connect with old friends and family members, who are scattered around the world. It brings many happy moments to my busy life. From time to time, it brings bad news.

Last week, I learned of the death of Dr. Sabah Abdel Aziz in Basra.

For readers of this post, the name means nothing. For his students, he meant the world.

Dr. Aziz was the head of the Computer Science department at University of Basra, where I completed my university studies, during the 1980s. He earned a doctorate in Satellite Technology from Japan. As you can imagine, he was a genius, and we were the wannabe programmers who had to share computers to finish our homework and assignments.

I caught Dr. Aziz's attention with my problem-solving techniques from the first year. From the beginning, I was expected to perform perfectly in my studies. This wasn't always easy considering Basrawi students lived in a war zone. But I tried my best.

Dr. Aziz was a professor with a vision. His vision was to graduate students who make it successfully in the workplace. His success is evident in my colleagues who became successful techies no matter which country they eventually landed.

I owe my success to Dr. Aziz and all the wonderful professors who taught me at University of Basra. They were available when we needed them. They were tough when toughness was needed. It's what made us better programmers.

Before leaving church yesterday, I prayed to Mother Mary. I asked her to tell Dr. Aziz that we loved him, and he will be missed on Earth.

R.I.P. Dr. Sabah Abdel Aziz.

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