FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 21, 2007
Abbass Alkhafaji, professor in SRU's School of Business, dies
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Abbass Alkhafaji, an award-winning Slippery Rock University School of Business professor who maintained dual U.S. and Iraqi citizenship, died Thursday night at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. He was 59. His wife and six children survive him.
The funeral was Saturday in Michigan.
"He was an outstanding man, scholar and humanitarian," said Robert Smith, SRU president. "His scholarship has been praised for both its quantity and quality. The University community will miss him and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family."
Alkhafaji, who joined SRU in 1987, had been on an academic sabbatical since January. While on sabbatical in the Middle East, he was involved in a traffic accident and several weeks later developed a medical condition that left him severely paralyzed. He underwent treatment in the Middle East before returning to Pittsburgh for continued medical attention. He was later transferred to Johns Hopkins.
Alkhafaji had recently served as a visiting professor under a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship at Qatar University in Doha and had lectured throughout the Middle East, including Jordan and Cairo. He had also served as a visiting professor at the University of Sharjah and at Al-Isra University and had presented numerous workshops and lectures throughout the Arab region.
During his numerous Middle East trips, he conducted workshops, including those focused on Total Quality Management and Strategic Management at the Hashemite University and at Al-Omani Institute for Vocational Training. He spoke before the Muscat-Oman Defense Ministry on TQM and lectured extensively on the topic in western Pennsylvania.
Born in Iraq, Alkhafaji was often quoted in regional newspapers following the fall of Saddam Hussein and during the Iraqi elections.
At SRU, he was cited for both the quantity and quality of his scholarship. One reviewer noted, "The numerous, peer-reviewed publications, published books, consultantships and invited papers and presentations represent a tremendous personal commitment and the department and University appreciate your contributions to the discipline and the recognition you bring to Slippery Rock University."
He published a number of books, including "Corporate Transformation and Restructuring: A Strategic Approach" (2001), "Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation and Control in a Dynamic Environment," "Competitive Global Management: Principles and Strategies," "Restructuring American Businesses: Fundamentals and Implications" and "Stakeholder Approach to Corporate Governance: Managing in a Dynamic Environment" which was used as a classroom text. He served as guest editor of the "International Journal of Commerce and Management."
Alkhafaji was instrumental in founding and served as executive vice president for the International Academy of Business Disciplines. He undertook research in Total Quality Management and Strategic Management in International Companies Operating Theories in the Middle East.
He served as chair of SRU's marketing and management department before it was incorporated into the School of Business. He was named a full professor at SRU in 1992.
Prior to joining SRU, he had served as an assistant professor at Gettysburg College and was a research assistant, teaching assistant and instructor of management at the University of Texas at Dallas.
At SRU he was named Academic Adviser of the Year in 1995, presented the Dean's Research Scholars Award in 1994 and 1991, the President's Award for Outstanding Publication in 1992 and 1989, and the Apple Polishing Award in 1992. He was an honorary inductee to Phi Eta Sigma in 1990.
Alkhafaji, who joined the SRU marketing and management faculty as an assistant professor, earned his doctorate at the University of Texas and earned a Master of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Science degree in economics from North Texas State University. He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Bowling Green State University and his undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Baghdad in Iraq. He earned certificates in Banking and Financial Institutions from the Arab Institute for Banking and Financial Studies in Amman, Jordan. He also earned an Auditor of Accounting Certificate in Iraq.
He made his home in New Castle, with his wife, Fatin, and six children, Hassan, Ali, Alfadel, Ahmed, Hussain and Ibrahim.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives