Mechanical engineering chair Dr. Hashim Salman Mahdi dies suddenly
Contact: Office of University Relations 956/381-2741
Posted: 01/06/2009
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UPDATE: Burial services for Dr. Hashim Salman Mahdi are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. at Val Verde Memorial Gardens Cemetery, located on 6200 N. Val Verde Road in Donna, Texas. The UTPA College of Science and Engineering will honor Mahdi at a memorial service Thursday, Jan. 15. A time and location will be announced soon.

It is with great sadness that The University of Texas-Pan American announces the passing of Dr. Hashim Salman Mahdi, chair and professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Science and Engineering. He was 56 years old.

- Dr. Hashim Salman Mahdi
Mahdi died Tuesday morning, Jan. 6 at Edinburg Regional Medical Center after suffering a heart attack.

"Dr. Mahdi was an outstanding professor, loved and admired by all of his students, an amazing colleague who worked tirelessly for the good of the university, the engineering programs and especially mechanical engineering. He was a wonderful human being who helped and trusted everyone he met," said Dr. Edwin LeMaster, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

LeMaster said Mahdi headed up the mechanical engineering program from its inception and as a result of his leadership the program has grown to 542 students - one of the largest mechanical engineering programs in the state of Texas.

"He cared for every student, he gave his utmost support to his faculty and staff, and he worked tirelessly to build the new programs in size and quality. He loved and cared for his family as a devoted father, husband and an example of a loving human being," LeMaster said.

Mahdi joined the UTPA family in 1992. During his tenure with the University, he served as an assistant professor from 1992-1996, associate professor, 1996-2002, and a full professor, 2002 to present. Prior to his appointment at UTPA, Mahdi was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at The University of Arizona.

"He was like a brother to me and will be missed every day of my life. He has been my confidant and colleague and advisor. His practical jokes have cheered me and encouraged me when things were tough. He always said 'yes' to any request however large or difficult. Our university community has lost a noble colleague, a vital leader, and a wonderful friend," LeMaster said.

He earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering in 1989 and a master's in mechanical engineering from the The University of Arizona-Tucson. His research and expertise was in the areas of computational fluid mechanics and heat transfer, alternative energy, and the cooling of electronic devices.

In addition, Mahdi wrote numerous articles for research journals in his area of study, and was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, (ASME) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Mahdi also was awarded more than $1 million in funding to support undergraduate computer labs at UTPA as well as his research.

LeMaster said the College of Science and Engineering will be supporting the creation of the Dr. Hashim Salman Mahdi Memorial Scholarship at UTPA. For more information on the scholarship fund or to contribute, call 956/381-3361.