June 2021 OES Beacon OES Beacon

Obituary on Dr. Ferial El-Hawary, IEEE OES AdCom member, IEEE Fellow and Life member

Adapted by your Editors from the Halifax Saltwire.com obituary for Ferial

Ferial El-Hawary , age 78, of Halifax, passed away peacefully with family at her side on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Born in Mansoura, Egypt, she was predeceased by her husband, Mohamed El-Hawary.

Dr. El-Hawary received her B.Eng from the University of Alexandria, Egypt, M.Sc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and Ph.D. in Oceans Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Prior to her Ph.D. she spent two years (1971-1973) in Brazil along with her husband Mo in being part of the team for establishing a Higher Engineering Research Institute which is well-recognized as COPPE in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was President and Co-founder of BH Engineering Systems Ltd. and a former Professor, Faculty of Engineering at Dalhousie University, Canada where she established and directed the Modeling & Signal Analysis Research Laboratory. Her sustained research was devoted to Control and Signal Processing for Ocean Engineering Applications with significant impact in the Marine Industry.

Published widely in IEEE Journals. She was the Editor-in-Chief of The Ocean Engineering Handbook CRC Press, 2nd Ed. 2004 and served as Associate Editor of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Journal. As Co-founder of BH Engineering Systems Ltd she established professional development courses linking academic innovations to industrial needs. She had been heavily involved in Engineering both technically and administratively as a current member of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Administrative Committee having served as Vice-President International, and Past Chairman of the Membership Development Committee. She was nominated to serve as President of the Society. Ferial had been instrumental in establishing the Canadian Atlantic Chapters of Oceanic Engineering Society, and she was recognized for her leadership roles in establishing strong IEEE/OES European Chapter based in France as well as the IEEE/OES Chapter based in Trondeheim, Norway. Ferial was heavily involved in the organizing Committees of OCEANS’87, OCEANS’97 Conferences, and CCECE’2000 in Halifax, and OCEANS’94, OCEANS’98 in France. Dr. El-Hawary was also the current Chair of Eastern Canada Council of IEEE Canada, and a member of IEEE Committee on Women in Engineering. She was a recipient of IEEE Canada Wally Read Service Award for 2000, the IEEE Third Millennium Medal 2000, the 1999 RAB Achievement Award, 1997 IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Distinguished Service Award. She was a Fellow of IEEE, a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), and a Fellow of the Marine Technology Society (MTS). Ferial served as president of IEEE Canada in 2008 and 2009.

As a woman “ahead of her time” she has served as a role model and passionate advocate for Women in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives around the world. Nanny Fifi, as she was known to her family, was a great lover of animals especially her cats, dancing, yoga, Zumba, swimming, and traveling around the world. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. She enjoyed spending as much time as possible with the love of her life (Grampy Mo) with whom she has shared so many amazing adventures in exotic locations all around the world. Their favorite place was their cottage at White Point Beach, Nova Scotia where they will lie together for eternity.

Following are some comments from OES members:

  • Ferial (and her late husband Mo) profoundly influenced my IEEE activities, even before I was involved with OES. They mentored several generations of volunteers in the Canadian Atlantic Section, and IEEE Canada. They both had a passion for IEEE volunteering, and especially for students. Their impact will endure for many years to come – Christopher Whitt
  • Ferial has been one of the most dedicated OES members, whether as a society officer or a presenter and participant at OES meetings and events. Always with a bright smile, as shown in this issue’s “Blast” article, there were very few events and activities that she missed. She will surely be missed – Robert Wernli
  • She was a bit of a character, but a very lovely person. We’ll miss her – Tamaki Ura
  • Ferial was a force to be heard and a continuing part of the OES leadership with participation in most of our discussions – Sandy Williams