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Najee E. Muhammad

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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University mourns loss of Associate Professor Najee Muhammad


Ohio University Emeritus Associate Professor Najee E. Muhammad, 69, died at his home in Athens on Saturday, March 8.

He joined the faculty in 1996 in the Cultural Studies in Education program, situated in the Department of Educational Studies. During his tenure, he also served one year as the interim chair of the Department of African American Studies.

Born in the Bronx, New York in 1944, Muhammad earned his doctorate in the history and philosophy of education from the University of Cincinnati. He is survived by his wife, Robin Muhammad (chair, African American Studies), and three adult children, Sean Sherman, Julian Sherman and Dawn Sherman, as well as several grandchildren.

A memorial celebration of his life will be held on April 19 at Ohio University's Galbreath Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a memorial scholarship fund recognizing Muhammad's commitment to social justice in education and to his students during the past 17 years.

These are some comments from a few of Muhammad's friends and colleagues:

"After 17 years engaged in this work together, it does not feel right not to have him here to share in the triumphs and challenges of our work," said Jaylynne Hutchinson, Ohio University associate professor of critical studies in educational foundations. "I have lost a 'brother in the struggle' and will miss him dearly and deeply. No doubt that he has left his mark on the world via his students and colleagues. I am honored to have had the opportunity to have been both a colleague and friend."

"Dr. Muhammad was indeed a renaissance man," said Tom Davis, Ohio University professor and board of trustees secretary emeritus. "He was a scholar and a national authority on the life and teachings of Malcolm X. His research truly framed his teaching and work with his students. He had many personal passions from photography, to competitive tennis, to the last chapter of his life, the love of golf."

"Najee was a good friend of mine. I knew him as a person, colleague and teacher and I admired his passion and commitment to teaching," said Akil Houston, Ohio University assistant professor of African American Studies. "One of his favorite sayings was 'anything done with dedicated passion can transform into an art.' He was a true artist in the classroom. I respected his ability to speak truth to power and I will miss his friendship and warm laughter."

"Dr. Muhammad served on my dissertation committee," said Stephanie Sanders, Ohio University assistant director of diversity and inclusion. "I knew him as a principled man who pushed the envelope and marched to the beat of his own drum. He was a critical thought leader in the Patton College of Education who did not shirk back in his assessment and critique of society. His ideals, passion and presence will truly be missed."