Fundraising for Commemorating Professor Dr Mahbubur Rahman Syed

The Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) is the first department in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Bangladesh, which is working relentlessly towards improving computing education and research in the country. From a humble beginning in 1982 with only postgraduate program, soon the CSE Department was able to attract the most talented youths of the country when it started offering the country’s first Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BScEngg) in CSE degree in 1986, under the leadership of Professor Dr Mahbubur Rahman Syed who served as the Head of the CSE Department from 1986 to 1992. Mahbub Sir is widely acknowledged as the architect of the world-class CSE curriculum, which is still relevant and has been followed by all reputed universities in Bangladesh. The continuous enrolment of brilliant students, dedication of the competent teachers, and the amicable environment of teacher-student relationship fostered by Mahbub Sir made the CSE Department a unique one in the country. 

Mahbub Sir was born on April 5, 1952. He attended then Momenshahi (now Mirzapur) Cadet College (2nd batch) and commenced his BScEngg degree at the Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) Department of BUET, before departing in 1972 for education in Hungary with scholarship. He received his PhD degree from the Technical University of Budapest in 1980. He returned to BUET in 1982 as a faculty and was promoted to the Head of the CSE Department in 1986. He supervised over 20 Masters by Research theses at BUET and received the Young Excellent Scientist Award from UNESCO. He soon fell victim of internal politics for his success and fame at such a young age and had to leave BUET in 1992. Regrettably, Bangladesh could not avail his service to the fullest potential; the world, however, did not miss that opportunity. He continued his passion for teaching and research by serving in reputed universities in Australia and USA. Mahbub Sir was the Chairman and Professor of the Computer Information Science (CIS) Department at the Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA until the day he passed away on April 14, 2021, immediately after celebrating his 69th birthday. He is survived by wife Sharifun Nessa Syed and son Tahin Syed. 

Mahbub Sir had an enviably colorful career that started with leading an infant department to its adolescence and ended at leading a matured department to a special height — completing a full circle in some sense. The personal note from the President of Minnesota State University, Mankato may be quoted in this regard, which perfectly captures the true nature of our Mahbub Sir:  

“On a personal note, it was always a pleasure for me to Meet with Dr Syed because he was truly a gentleman and always left me with something to think about. I value his wisdom and insight on a variety of issues and know he cared deeply about others, especially his students. He will be sorely missed.” – Professor Richard Davenport  

Tahin has created a memorial website for Mahbub Sir (https://www.forevermissed.com/mahbubur-syed/) where tributes, stories, and photos from his family, friends, students, colleagues, and the alumni of CSE Department are being archived.  

Memorial Awards 

We, the alumni of the CSE Department, along with the current students, faculty members of the department and other units of BUET where he served, have planned to create a Memorial Fund for Mahbub Sir by contributing to the BUET Endowment Fund, which managed by the BUET authority. We plan to invest the Memorial Fund in Bangladesh Government’s Wage Earner’s Development Bond to establish the following Memorial Awards, funded from the annual return on investment, to commemorate Mahbub Sir’s passion for teaching and excellence in applied research: 

 Memorial Award Description # Amount per award Total amount 
1. Mahbubur Rahman Syed Research Chair in Applied Technology Awarded to a faculty member of BUET for 6 months with the following entitlement: Teaching relief with teaching assistant for 14 weeks Research assistant for 6 months Conference travel grant Honorarium ৳625,000 ৳1,250,000 
2. Mahbubur Rahman Syed Best Paper Award Awarded to the authors of best papers in international conferences organized/held in Bangladesh ৳5,000 ৳20,000 
Total 1,270,000 

Assuming 10% annual return on investment in Wage Earner’s Development Bond, we aim to fundraise 12,700,000 = $150,000 (USD) so that these awards are self-sustained perpetually

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