$300,000 gift funds largest single general graduate fellowship
A $300,000 gift from Ed Sawan, Wichita State University professor emeritus in electrical engineering and computer science, will fund the largest, single general graduate fellowship at WSU, with a preference for international students.
The announcement was made at a news conference Friday, Feb. 25, by Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation.
The Maha Maggie Sawan Fellowship for International Students, named in memory of Sawan’s wife, who died in 2010, will fund two annual fellowships with the first to be awarded in fall 2011 and the second in spring 2012.
The students must have undergraduate degrees from WSU or at least nine hours completed in the WSU graduate program.
“Dr. Sawan is an inspiration to all of us,” said King. “He wanted to honor his wife and her life, which was dedicated to supporting everyone around her. This gift will continue her compassion and live in perpetuity.”
A passion for teaching
Ed Sawan received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Alexandria in Egypt in 1973 and a Master of Science in automatic control and computers in 1976. From the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Ill., he received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.
His deep passion for his teaching responsibilities and his students earned him many WSU honors. In 2009, he received the Academy for Effective Teaching Award and he was honored with the Dwane and Velma Wallace Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1983 and 2002.
Winning this award twice is quite unique and a strong statement of his commitment to his students. Sawan was inducted as a Bender of Twigs in 2005, after reaching his 25th anniversary. He served WSU for 30 years.
“I was a student of Dr. Sawan,” said Ravi Pendse, WSU associate provost, “and in addition to being one of the most dedicated professors who felt great responsibility for the education of his students, he also is like a father to me, teaching me life skills that went beyond the potential workplace.”
Dedicated to helping others
Maggie Sawan received a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Alexandria in 1977. Because of her volunteer work with the Sedgwick County school system, she was awarded the Good Apple Award in 1989.
“Dr. Sawan’s generous act is indicative of his life, as well as Maggie’s,” said WSU President Donald Beggs. “They both were dedicated to helping those around them achieve their dreams. We will be forever grateful.”
The Sawans have one son, Joseph, and daughter-in-law, Armida, who live in Toronto, Ontario, in Canada.