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In memoriam: Mumtaz K. Kassir


Mumtaz K. Kassir, a fracture mechanics pioneer, former associate dean and professor at the City College of New York (CCNY), of the City University of New York (CUNY), died on Friday, December 8, 2017. Prof. Kassir, who lived in River Vale, New Jersey, was 83.

Kassir was born on May 8, 1934 in Iraq to Khalil and Fadila Kassir. He earned a bachelor’s degree in building and construction engineering at the University of Manchester, UK, in 1957. He earned a master’s degree in structural engineering at Stanford University and a doctoral degree in applied mechanics at Lehigh University, in 1963 and 1966, respectively.

Kassir has worked in civil engineering and construction works in Baghdad, Iraq, during 1957–1958. He also worked as an instructor at the University of Baghdad during 1959–1961 and at the Department of Civil Engineering of CCNY, as an assistant professor during 1966–1970, associate professor during 1971–1975, and professor during 1976–1998. He was associate dean for Graduate Studies and Executive Office of the PhD Program in Engineering at the Graduate Center and CCNY of CUNY during 1999–2013, and retired in 2014.

In 1975, Dr. Kassir and his mentor, Prof. G.C. Sih wrote a book titled “Three-Dimensional Crack Problems”, a classical reference in fracture mechanics, published by Noordhoff International Publishing, in The Netherlands. Before passing he had published his book titled “Applied Elasticity and Plasticity”, published by CRC Press in 2017.

Dr. Kassir’s research interests have resulted in a total of 52 journal papers and numerous technical reports and conference presentations in the United States, Greece, Holland, China, and Japan. Dr. Kassir has received several grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Brookhaven National Laboratory (Long Island, New York) during 1968–1995. He was co-principal investigator with Lehigh University faculty-Naval Research, AFOSR (Air Force Office of Scientific Research), and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

Prof. Kassir loved traveling the world, enjoyed the arts and treasured time with his family. A beloved teacher and mentor, but above all, Prof. Kassir was a kind man.

Mumtaz Kassir is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Suham, daughters; Hazar Gardner and Baan Kassir, son-in-law; Jeff Gardner, and grandchildren; Natalie and Nicholas. All who knew Mumtaz will miss him.