PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The University of West Florida will have a new name for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering after a $1 million gift from Drs. Muhammad and Fatema Rashid.

“Education transforms a person as an artist transforms a piece of paper to a beautiful piece of art,” said Dr. Muhammad Rashid. “At UWF, I saw such transformation of students during the senior design project demonstration, the same person, but of completely different personality and intellect. Quality education, developing abilities and skills in taking risks and challenges, and thinking creatively outside the box are essential for empowering graduates to cope in the changing global competitive marketplace. While at UWF, my goal had always been on program quality, and I believe it will continue.”

Rashid, professor emeritus in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering, was instrumental in developing UWF electrical and computer engineering programs in Pensacola and at UWF Emerald Coast in Fort Walton Beach.

The electrical engineering program began as a joint program with the University of Florida in 1994. After Rashid joined the program in 1997, he added a computer engineering program and renamed the joint program to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1998. The electrical and computer engineering programs were accredited by the ABET for the first time in Fall 2000. Dr. Muhammad Rashid retired in 2016. He holds a doctorate in electrical and electronic engineering. Fatema Rashid received her doctorate in medicine and worked as a physician before setting aside her practice to raise their three children. 

“Through their considerable generosity, the Rashids have demonstrated how the commitment of two people can change the lives of many,” UWF President Martha D. Saunders said. “The Rashids believe in the power of education to advance the field of engineering through our students and the world they will impact. What a beautiful legacy they have created.”

According to the university, the Rashids have the most established endowments to UWF by a donor. The endowments established by the Rashids in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering are the Dr. Faeza Rashid Kazmier STEM Scholarship Endowment; Dr. Muhammad H. Rashid Engineering Research and Projects Endowment; Drs. Muhammad and Fatema Rashid Female Engineering Scholarship Endowment; Drs. Muhammad and Fatema Rashid Future Generation Engineering Scholarship Endowment; Drs. Muhammad H. and Fatema Rashid Paths to STEM Scholarship Endowment; and the Muhammad Rashid Best Project Award Endowment. 

“The Rashids have made an indelible mark on the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering,” Dr. Jaromy Kuhl, Dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering said. “Dr. Muhammad Rashid has been an integral part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since its establishment and he continues to transform students’ lives through his generous giving.”

The UWF Board of Trustees approved the department name change to the Dr. Muhammad Harunur Rashid Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at its September meeting. 

For more information about giving to UWF, click here.

Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and across the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and be sure to turn on push alerts.