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September 13, 2002 In memoriam



Jean-Pierre Petolas, 1925-2002

His many friends at Concordia were saddened to hear of the passing of Jean-Pierre Petolas, a significant figure in the growth and development of Concordia.

He joined Sir George Williams University as an associate professor of physics in 1949, when the university consisted of two floors of the YMCA on Drummond St. and most of the 1,600 students attended evening classes. In the 1950s, the physics department, then housed in the former Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue on Stanley St., moved under his direction into the new Norris Building next to the Y.

Professor Petolas joined the Sir George administration in 1962, and began what he later described as the most exciting period of his life. The university was bursting at the seams. He became a key figure in the planning of what was for many years the largest university building in Canada, the Henry F. Hall Building, and the acquisition of the houses along Bishop and Mackay Sts. as annexes.

In 1961, he was president of the Sir George Williams Association of University Teachers, a forerunner of CUFA. When he retired in 1986, Professor Petolas was Assistant Vice-Rector, Physical Resources. After his retirement, he remained active in community affairs in Hudson, and an avid sailor, and he was always interested in Concordia.

Graham Martin, who worked closely with him as an administrator, said, “J-P was a quiet, unassuming, kindhearted man. His work for the university, which ranged from the Hall Building through the Visual Arts Building to the new library complexes and all space matters in between, was done quietly, often behind the scenes, and rarely acknowledged publicly, but most of the space that we had and that was planned up to 1986 was his doing. Those of us who worked with him will sorely miss him.”

Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family, particularly his wife Betty, who was also a longtime employee of the university and a gracious friend to many.

Bassem Khalifah, PhD

Bassem Khalifah, 61, died as the result of a massive heart attack suffered in his classroom in the Faubourg Tower on Tuesday.

Dr. Khalifah earned his PhD in religion from Concordia in 1996, and was teaching two courses for the Political Science Department at the time of his death, Religion and Politics, and Islam and Nationalism.

Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family, including his son Alexandre, an employee in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, his daughter Christine, a student in the Liberal Arts College, and to his students.