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Engineering Faculty Member Zia-ur Rahman Dies in Car Crash

Zia-ur Rahman, an adjunct faculty member in Old Dominion University's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, died Thursday, Dec. 16, when his car ran off an icy road and struck a guard rail on Interstate 81 in Rockbridge County, Va.

According to the Daily Press, Rahman, 48, was driving southbound around 11:45 a.m. when his vehicle ran off the right side of the road two-tenths of a mile south of Route 60 near Lexington, state police said.

A Williamsburg resident, Rahman had taught full time in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at ODU for four years. He left that position at the end of the 2009-10 academic year for a job at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, but continued to teach and mentor graduate students as an adjunct faculty member.

Batten College Dean Oktay Baysal said the news is sad for the college. "And it is not just our loss, but certainly a loss for the entire professional community around him," Baysal said. "On behalf of the ODU Batten College of Engineering and Technology, I wish to express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. He will always be remembered."

Trooper D.E. Tyree of the Sixth Division of the State Police said the roads were covered with snow during the accident. Rahman, who was wearing a seat belt, died at the scene, according to Tyree. The exact cause of death is still undetermined, pending information from the medical examiner's office.

Rahman was a skilled and award-winning inventor, who helped develop a software that allows amateurs to take professional-quality photographs.

ECE department chair Shirshak Dhali said he will be remembered fondly by everyone in the department.

"He was an excellent teacher and researcher and was well respected by his colleagues," Dhali said. "He had a great sense of humor and we will miss his laughter in the hallways. Personally, Zia was a great colleague and a dear friend, and I will miss him."

Before joining ODU as an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, Rahman received a B.A. in physics from Ripon College in 1984, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1986 and 1989, respectively.

His graduate research focused on using neural networks and image-processing techniques for motion detection and target tracking.

This article was posted on: December 17, 2010

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