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In Memoriam: Dr. Houria (Suzy) Hassouna (1934-2018)

Published: Tuesday, 22 Jan 2019
Author: Mary F Firdawsi
Department: Muslim Studies Center

In Memoriam The MSU community lost Dr. Houria Suzy Hassouna (1934-2018), a world renowned scientist in hematology. Dr. Hassouna joined the medical school at MSU in 1980, after graduating from Cairo University in medicine, and after completing her medical education in London, Edinburgh, Freiburg, and New York (Rockefeller University). She held the Carl and Elsa Rehberg Hematology Research Chair at MSU from 2007 until her death. In addition, Dr. Hassouna also had a number of patents in her name, related to hematology. Lastly, many doctors in the Lansing area and internationally owe her their medical knowledge, as she trained them to become some of the best doctors in the Lansing area and beyond. A member of the glamorous aristocracy of Egypt, she was tutored at home, between Alexandria and Cairo, following King Farouk's residential summer and winter homes. Her father was the personal physician of King Farouk, the last king of Egypt, as well as the Egyptian Swimming Olympic team's physician. Suzy, as she is endeared by her family and friends, was an avid swimmer, with Olympic standards. A great granddaughter of Sheikh Hassouna El Nawawy who was the Sheikh of El Azhar and who has some prominent publications at El Azhar, she was a deeply pious and spiritual Muslim. Her piety translated into community service and charitable causes, and she was a strong voice against injustice, wherever it is. Dr. Paulette Russell, the director of the MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, noted, "Dr. Hassouna was a strong advocate for equity and her passing is a loss for us all." Her privileged upbringing did not prevent her from connecting with people from all walks of life, and from all different social and cultural backgrounds. Dr. Hassouna was also at home in Arabic, English and French. In addition to all the remarkable career achievements, she was an important member of the MSU community, reaching out to units and programs at MSU such as the Muslim Studies Program, with unending support. We lost a trailblazer, a role model, a hu-manist and a great mind. She is survived by her daughters Shereen and Nimentallah, her son Ibrahim, and her grandchildren.
This tribute was written by Camelia Suleiman, Associate Professor, Arabic Studies, Department of Linguistics and Languages, MSU.