Firas Kamal Mansour, 50, passed away on December 29, 2021. An exceptional teacher and colleague, Firas dedicated his professional life to physics education and to the well-being of his students. With a larger than life personality replete with wit and charm, Firas had a passion for physics and physics education. He frequently offered extra help sessions and extended office hours intended to assist struggling physics students. Firas had a unique ability to make physics accessible and enjoyable. He was a master teacher.
Firas joined the department of Physics & Astronomy as a graduate student in 1995. Appointed to a teaching assistantship, Firas was assigned demonstrations in first-year labs. This experience fuelled his passion for teaching. While leading a physics tutorial later that year, his unique teaching ability caught the department’s attention. Finding himself in demand, Firas earned the departmental award for the outstanding teaching assistant. His brilliant teaching career was set on course shortly thereafter when he was appointed to a sessional teaching position. Firas was appointed to a Continuing Lectureship in 2007, where he remained in service until his passing. His outstanding teaching was recognized by students and faculty with the Distinguished Teacher Award in 2012. The citation highlighted his unique classroom style which “provokes” the most hesitant physics students to learn and enjoy physics. Firas was an early adopter of Active Learning Techniques in the classroom setting. He understood that each student learns and understands uniquely. This realization propelled his scholarship into alternative learning techniques. Firas was a devoted colleague who contributed so much life to the Department of Physics & Astronomy through service on many departmental and University committees. Firas made great things happen by combining a sharp intellect with his outsized, magnetic personality.
Firas will be remembered foremost as a kind, generous, and gentle man. The outpouring of grief from across the University and beyond is only one indication of how much Firas meant to all of us. Firas leaves behind his beloved wife Melissa Finn and three young sons.
The funeral will be held on Thursday January 6, 1:30 pm at Waterloo Masjid, 213 Erb St W, Waterloo. Burial will follow at Parkview Cemetery, 335 University Ave, Waterloo.
A fund has been established to assist Melissa and the children in this most difficult moment. Donations can be made via the following link: https://gofund.me/90dcec7b