Concordia University honours Iran plane crash victims with new scholarship

·2 min read

Newlyweds Siavash Ghafouri-Azar and Sara Mamani had just recently earned master's degrees in engineering at Concordia University when they died in the Ukraine International Airlines plane crash near Tehran last month. Now, the university has set up a scholarship fund in their honour.

The scholarship will support students from Iran who pursue graduate studies at the university.

Retired Iranian-Canadian engineer Gina Parvaneh Cody, for whom Concordia's engineering faculty is named, has donated $50,000 to the fund.

"This whole event affected a lot of Canadians, not just the Iranian community. To me, it was a way of relieving my sorrows and sadness," Cody said in an interview Wednesday. The school has so far raised an additional $25,000, for a total of $75,000 to date.

"This young couple never had the chance to leave their mark on the world the way they wanted to," Cody said.

Gina Cody/Concordia University
Gina Cody/Concordia University

Cody was born in Iran and moved to Montreal to pursue her studies in 1979. She became the first woman to obtain a PhD in building engineering at Concordia in 1989.

When she first came to Montreal, she only had $2,000 to her name. She said she owes her success to a scholarship she received when she was a student at Concordia.

"Remembering what helped me and who I became was an important aspect of trying to create similar conditions for those who are coming after me," said Cody.

She hopes that the students who benefit from this new scholarship will be able to pay it forward someday.

"I'm hoping through their education, they will try to give back to the society," said Cody.

Cody, who lives in Toronto, is also the first Canadian woman to have a university faculty named in her honour, after donating $15 million to Concordia in 2018.