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Brother flies in from America to collect Bradford degree

9 July 09


The University of Bradford will be awarding a degree to one of its students, 23 years after he first registered for a 3 year degree programme, on Wednesday 15 July 2009.

Thaer Abdul Malik Al-Rawi first began his doctoral studies in October 1986, in the then Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a view to obtaining his degree in 1989. However, he unfortunately became very ill and was subsequently only able to focus on his studies for relatively short periods interspersed between long periods of medical treatment. He regrettably died in September 1996 with his thesis about 85% complete.

His course supervisor Dr Jess Boot decided to undertake, collate and annotate Thaer's work with a view to obtaining a posthumous doctoral degree, but unfortunately events conspired to prevent Dr Boot from producing the thesis in its final form until he reached his retirement in January 2008.

Upon completing the thesis, Dr Boot decided to re-establish contact with Treska's family - after 12 years this proved difficult. After having no luck searching for his widow Treska, Dr Boot eventually found Thaer's twin brother Haidar using the online US telephone directory.

Hadiar was delighted to hear that his brother would finally receive his PHD and will be coming to the University, from the USA to collect the award. Haidar said: "I am very pleased and proud to receive Thaer's PhD degree on his behalf. The will and desire to complete his thesis was what kept him going through his difficult times - and it would have meant more than anything to him to have been able to collect his degree today.

"I would also like to express our family's gratitude to Dr Boot and the University authorities for the important role they have played in bringing about the conferral of my brother's degree."

Dr Boot added: "Despite all his problems Thaer made excellent progress during his periods of better health, and always maintained a positive outlook on life and his work. He was a very kind and gentle person, an excellent chess player, and a very capable and diligent student. Since his work was relatively near completion at the time of his death, I decided to obtain a posthumous doctoral degree to appropriately honour his dedication, strength of character, and intellectual capability for the benefit of his family and friends.

"I am delighted that his brother will be at the ceremony to collect the award and hope we can contact Thaer's widow, Treska; she loved Thaer very much and would be overjoyed to learn of his PhD success."

After the ceremony Haidar will fly on to Jordan to personally pass on the good news to his mother.

9 July 09

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