By Kelsey Kendall

Since 1979, Old Dominion University has seen six presidents, including the current president, Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

The University has grown exponentially. Students, staff and faculty have come and gone.

Throughout all that change, Moustafa Moustafa, an associate professor of engineering technology, remained a constant presence on campus.

Moustafa came to Hampton Roads in 1979 after he finished his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The cold, snowy winters did not agree with him but at ODU, the Moustafa family was able to enjoy milder weather and plenty of beaches.

At that time, the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department was new and Moustafa, then in his mid-30s, introduced new classes and helped build the curriculum based on his experience teaching at the University of Illinois. This was around the time computers were first being introduced in academia, and he wanted to bring the new era of technology to the University.

The first computer he acquired “after convincing the Dean” that it was the future in engineering communications was a “small” computer placed in a five-by-five-foot room. Moustafa started playing around with graphics, using enhanced and simplified new programs rather than the old punch cards that used to make up computer programming at Illinois.

“It was just me with four walls and a small computer,” Moustafa said.

Moustafa explored and worked with several packages until AutoCAD Engineering graphics software program was introduced by Autodesk, a software program that helps create detailed drawings for engineers and architects. Eventually, he founded the Autodesk authorized training center, teaching thousands of students and training engineers in the industry on how to use the program. He served as the center’s director for more than 15 years.

Moustafa’s more than four decades at the University have been filled with numerous accomplishments, from the Frank Batten award for industrial partnering to service awards from several international professional organizations such as The Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the American Society of Engineering Education.

“The best times are when I see my graduates coming to find me and see if I’m still here or not,” Moustafa said. “I enjoy that I see them. And when I look at all the number of students that pass through, I feel that I did something that I can be proud of – that I taught that many people how to be engineers.”

Moustafa tried to instill the value of hard work in his students. He wanted his students to understand how they reached their answers – not just find the answer and move on. Sometimes, past students would call him up to ask for his help on a problem they had come across at work. Moustafa has his students format their assignments so that they have step-by-step explanations they can refer to in those future moments.

He chaired the student conduct committee for many years, which he said was an enjoyable challenge. He also was a part of a presidential athletic advisory board. Being a proud athlete himself, it was a great experience for him.

Outside of the classroom, Moustafa enjoys sports. He participated in wrestling, gymnastics, football, volleyball and basketball. In particular, he enjoys croquet. Before going to Illinois for his graduate degrees, Moustafa had won Egypt’s national championships in croquet. He would play the game for hours each day. After he started living in the States where professional croquet is rarely found, he built a court in his backyard so he could play whenever he wanted.

Moustafa enjoyed sharing his experience with the Monarch community throughout the wide variety of roles he held in nearly half a century. He had not even considered retiring until recently.

“My objective was to stay here until I dropped,” Moustafa said. “I love ODU and I love teaching. I love what I do. I love all my friends and students around here.”

Then something changed. He thought about how much he has worked and how it would be nice to travel and do things he enjoys while he still can. He wants to travel with his wife, Chadiya, and take long cruises so they can explore the world.

Moustafa will finish the summer session before retirement. Moustafa’s main residence will continue to be in the Tidewater area so people can expect to see him around campus visiting friends and possibly even teaching occasionally.