In lieu of an in-person memorial on campus, Mehdi Manseur (son of the late Rachid Manseur, professor and chair of the electrical and computer engineering department -- pictured above) issued this tribute to memorialize his dad. 

My father, Professor Rachid Manseur, was born February 17, 1954 in Algiers, Algeria. He died on June 8, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. He was the 4th of 10 children from a poor Kabyle family. His father, Omar Manseur, was a bus driver. His mother, Yamina Manseur, was an angel. He is survived by his wife, Beatriz Gomez Santos, his two children, Mehdi and Maya Manseur, his daughter-in law, Giselle Manseur, and three beautiful grandchildren, Kayla, Marcus and Lauren Manseur, along with his sisters, Malika Kara, Nacera Bensari, Djamila Manseur, Farida Medjdoub, Rabea Hadj Djillali, and Zhor Imnighene.

All people are unique–my father more than most. He lived an atypical life and possessed a versatile set of skills that are hard to match.

My dad was born into the wrong side of a colonial apartheid state but grew up on the winning side of a revolution. His family did not have great means before or after. With two older brothers, he wore hand-me-downs and used shoes and never had many material possessions of his own. Growing up he relied on his mind to keep himself occupied and excelled at school. He told stories from ancient history and mythology, read poetry and learned to play the guitar rather than soccer. When wooing my mother, Zohra Zbiri, the daughter of a rather influential national figure, he could not afford gifts. Instead, he carved her handmade gifts out of wood. Convincing her to give him a chance may have been his greatest feat.

While my dad was an intellect with artistic talents, he was no physical slouch. He was a champion rower in Algiers and would begin his morning stretch with 15 pull-ups. He was always the anchor in tug-a-war at the annual neighborhood olympics at UF. To me and my cousins, he seemed like the strongest guy in every room.

At university in Algeria, he won a limited chance to go study engineering in the United States. He went on to earn a PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Florida (UF) before embarking upon a career as a professor at the University of North Florida, the University of West Florida and SUNY Oswego.

I was 8 years old when I realized that my dad was not your average dad. He took me to the British Museum and as we walked through each exhibit, he would tell me the history of the artifacts and peoples that made them. At some point in the day, after learning much more than I thought possible, I looked at him and earnestly asked, “Dad, do you know everything? Do these other people (in the museum) know that you know everything? I think we should tell them.” This story always brought a big smile to his face.

He was the only person I knew who could write music and poetry, sing, play instruments, paint, sculpt, solve complex physics equations and build a robot in the same day. He routinely won the amateur sand sculpting contest on Pensacola Beach and never failed to medal. He spoke five languages fluently throughout his life: Berber, Arabic, French, English and Spanish, which he learned just so he could communicate with my wife’s family. He used both halves of his brain and taught his children that the learning process never ends.

My father was fortunate to have many joys in life. Particularly his grandchildren and traveling the world, first with his loving family and later in life with his loving widow, Beatriz. To his family, he was always kind, caring, generous and beloved. Over the past few days, we have received hundreds of heartfelt messages from family and friends around the world. Many reminding of my father's great pride in his family and the wonderful things he said during his life. 

What our family would like to convey to SUNY Oswego is that as often as my father was apparently expressing his love for his family to others, he was at the same time endlessly expressing his love and admiration for the administration, faculty and students of SUNY Oswego to his family. My father loved teaching and was incredibly proud of his students accomplishments. He often spoke with great admiration about students and colleagues that overcame difficult obstacles to obtain their place in academia and proudly sent videos to the family of his students competing in various competitions.

When I was young child, my father would take me to the student labs at UF and show me the robotic arms gently picking up different objects. I admit I never shared his interest in robotics and always wondered how he could find it so fascinating. When SUNY Oswego hired him to help create an undergraduate level electrical engineering program (and then built a fancy building to accommodate it and other sciences), we knew he hit his jackpot. I would occasionally joke to him that Oswego is an awfully small town for such a worldly man and without fail he would quickly retort “but it has a great university.

Over the last few years, I often tried to convince him to retire and move to Miami but he made it clear that he loved SUNY Oswego so much he wanted to work until he died. When he was forced to retire at the end of this academic year due to health issues, I knew he had lost an important part of himself...something irreplaceable.

If there is one thing my family asks be remembered about my father, Professor Rachid Manseur, it is how much he loved SUNY Oswego. To the administration, faculty and the students, please know that he spoke only glowing words about all of you to those he knew. My family is forever indebted to SUNY Oswego, its administration, faculty and students for the wonderful opportunity provided to him as a Professor of Electrical Engineering and for the friendships made along the way. You gave him purpose and allowed him to live his dream.

Thank you, to the administration, for giving my father this opportunity and your stewardship.

Thank you, to his colleagues, for your dedication to academia and for being his friend.

Thank you, to his students, his greatest pride - you made it all worthwhile.

With love forever,
Mehdi Manseur, on behalf of the Manseur Family