The passing of Dr. Dawit Teklu on October 8, 2023, reverberates as an irreplaceable void within the realm of higher education and public service from Addis Ababa, and Washington DC to Dubai. His enduring contributions, which spanned over two decades, traversed multiple dimensions of academia and governance. Dr. Dawit ‘s profound influence extended not solely to his native Ethiopia but to a broader global canvas. As a virtuous Samaritan, he played a pivotal role in establishing scholarships for promising students at his alma mater, St. Joseph School in Addis Ababa. Many of these beneficiaries are now poised to significantly contribute to the growth and development of Ethiopia in the years to come. Furthermore, Dr. Dawit ‘s impact resonated across educational landscapes in the United States and the United Arab Emirates, where his expertise and indefatigable dedication became instrumental in propelling the cause of education and institutional efficacy.
With a bachelor’s degree in economics from George Williams College, a master’s degree in planning from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration/Public Affairs from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Dr. Dawit ‘s academic pedigree bespoke a profound commitment to scholarly pursuits. His professional trajectory was marked by a series of influential appointments, the most recent of which was his role as the Dean of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Evaluation at Strayer University in Washington, DC. In this capacity, he orchestrated the institution’s strategic planning, institutional research, and academic assessment endeavors. His stewardship also encompassed Anne Arundel Community College, where he served as the Executive Director of Planning, Research, and Institutional Assessment, overseeing the college’s operations pertaining to uniform effectiveness.
Moreover, Dr. Dawit assumed leadership positions at esteemed institutions such as William Rainey Harper College and Northern Virginia Community College. His unwavering dedication to advancing institutional effectiveness, planning, and resource allocation remained a defining hallmark of his service. His affiliations with the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), in addition to his role as a Middle States accreditation evaluator, underscored his expertise and unwavering dedication to the academic community.
As a fervent advocate for community colleges, Dr. Dawit extended his commitment by serving as a data coach with Achieving the Dream, collaborating with numerous community colleges throughout the United States. His vision and guidance had a transformative impact on many institutions. Dr. Dawit ‘s journey eventually led him to the Middle East, where he was appointed Commissioner at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), thereby exemplifying his global influence and his unwavering commitment to educational excellence.
Throughout his lifetime across the globe, Dr. Dawit ‘s demeanor served as a testament to his exceptional character. His genuine generosity, unwavering politeness, and infectious cheerfulness endeared him to all fortunate enough to cross his path. His humility and kindness radiated warmth and goodwill, illuminating the lives of those with whom he interacted.
What truly set Dr. Dawit apart was his unwavering patriotism and the sagacity with which he engaged in discussions about his beloved Ethiopia. His objectivity, wisdom, and profound love for his homeland were a source of inspiration, and his insights were deeply thought-provoking.
In these trying times, the memory of Dr. Dawit Teklu will persist in the hearts and minds of all those touched by his presence. His legacy of love and warmth will forever stand as a testament to the profound impact he had on his colleagues. The cherished moments shared with Dr. Dawit should serve as a poignant reminder of the values he instilled in those who had the privilege of knowing him.
Dr. Dawit’s scholarly colleagues are encouraged to find solace in the love and support he leaves behind. They should celebrate the extraordinary life of a man who enriched the world with his presence. Dr. Dawit Teklu’s spirit will undoubtedly endure through the love and compassion he shared with his fellow Ethiopians, both in the diaspora and at home. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
With profound sympathy and deepest condolences,
Professor Paulos Milkias