Today with ceremonies on campus, Bethlehem University mourns the passing of long time teacher and colleague, Mr. Khader Zoughby. A teacher of English at Bethlehem University since 1981, Khader greatly contributed to life at Bethlehem University not only through his work within the Department of English, but also through his dedication and love of Bethlehem University. Khader’s son, Wassim, is another of Khader’s contributions, whom we are proud to have as our Institutional Research Administrator.

Dr. Hazem Najjar, Chairperson of the English Department speaks fondly of his colleague. “No matter whether we agreed or disagreed, Khader and I respected each other’s opinions and work. Underneath his serious exterior was a very kind and generous spirit and it wasn’t unusual for my colleague to share jars of homemade jam or Easter eggs with me. He was very a very serious instructor and usually beat me to the office, where I would find him busily grading papers or preparing exams. I will miss him.”

Khader, who died 1 March 2012 of a severe heart attack, was a longtime presence on campus and his unique joviality combined with his seriousness about study, was a great gift to our campus. Khader will be greatly missed.

There are many ways to talk about Khader and his life story, but I thought it would be suitable, being that Khader was so talented in communicating through the written word, to let him tell you his story himself.

“My name is Khader Elias Zoughby.  I was born on October 25th, 1942.  I belong to one of the oldest and largest families of Bethlehem. I am a member of the Melkite Church, an Eastern Rite Church in communion with Rome.  For my education, my early years all the way through high school were spent at Terra Sancta College, about two hundred meters away from the spot were I was born, and where I have continued to live.  I married in 1976.  Now I am a father of four adults, all of them university graduates.

As for my higher education, this began in 1963 in Baghdad, Iraq. There, I entered the Al Hikma University, then an American Jesuit University, afterwards nationalized and now knows as the University of Baghdad.  In 1968, I graduated with my BA in liberal arts, majoring in English and minoring in Education. Thankfully, and with great significance for my life, after performing my practice teaching at St. Joseph’s School and at the Presentation School in Baghdad, I fell in love with teaching.

In September 1968, I started teaching at the Evangelical Lutheran School and at Terra Sancta College here in Bethlehem.  In 1976, I was asked to be a senior teacher of English at Talitha Kumi Lutheran School in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem.  Five years later I was asked to give two courses at Bethlehem University.  The next year, in 1981, I was offered and I accepted a permanent, full time position here.  A year after that I was given a scholarship to get my master’s degree.

Thus in 1984 I found myself studying at St. Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont, USA.  Then, at the conclusion of this period, in 1985, I came back to my home town with an MA in TESL to resume my teaching at Bethlehem University.

To me, teaching is more than a career, it is the place where I find myself doing what I was meant to do, what I am really effective at.”

Khader Elias Zoughby 1942-2012

Br. Peter Bray, FSC