As Nic Peterson, BELM ’07, waited to pay his respects at the January 11 wake of Associate Professor Loutfallah Georges Chedid, EE ’83, he fought back tears. When Peterson had contemplated dropping out after his sophomore year, Chedid encouraged him to enroll in the electromechanical engineering program, a decision that transformed his career. “He changed my life,” Peterson told Frederick Driscoll, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.
Peterson was one of many who were influenced by Chedid during his more than two decades of teaching and mentoring. His appointment to the faculty in 1986 was a homecoming for him: Chedid began his academic career at Wentworth, earning a bachelor’s in electronic engineering technology, before going on to earn a master’s in electrical engineering at Tufts, a doctorate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and even a master’s in education at Harvard.
Chedid spent his career devoted to improving engineering education, wrote and published papers, received awards for his work, and obtained patents. But those close to him say that the great focus of his career was student mentorship. He knew how challenging the engineering curriculum was, and he took it upon himself to try to ensure that every student earned their diploma. In 2002, he developed a program which is still in place today, where fifth-year electromechanical engineering students are paired with first-year students to serve as mentors to ease their younger counterparts’ transition into college and guide them through the major. Former student Ryan Rainville, BELM ’10, noted that a common phrase uttered when learning of his passing was, “It was because of Professor Chedid that I stayed with engineering.”
Chedid died on January 8, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; three sons,Georges, Antonius, and Nabil; two brothers, Tony and Nabil; and two sisters, Siham and Marie. —JULIE BARR