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13 April 2024

AUS professor hit by car, dies while cycling

Accident occurred on Monday evening, when professor and his friend were cycling to the campus. (Patrick Castillo)

By Sneha May Francis

Two cyclists have been reported dead after being hit by a car on Monday evening.

One has been identified as 56-year-old American national Richard Gassan, an Associate Professor of History at the American University of Sharjah, and the other, his friend, South African national Desmond Daniels.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, a member of the faculty termed the incident as “tragic”.

She added the faculty was informed about the accident around 8pm on Monday. An official at the university informed that Gassan has been working with them since the “fall of 2005”.

“He is survived by his mother and older brother,” he informed.

It is reported that the accident occurred on Monday evening, when the professor and his friend were cycling to the campus.

Messages of condolences poured in on Twitter, with one writing, “Words can't describe the sorrow for the passing of Professor Richard Gassan The American University of Sharjah lost a giant of a human being.”

Dr. Richard Gassan

A statement on the AUS website signed by Chancellor Dr. Björn Kjerfve states:

“It is with deep sadness that I share the news of the passing away yesterday of our colleague and friend Dr. Richard Gassan. 

 “As an admired colleague and member of the AUS community, Richard will be fondly remembered for his dedication and commitment toward his students and his pleasant disposition. 

“His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), personally called me yesterday evening to convey his condolences to the AUS community and to Richard’s family on this irreparable loss.”

In the news that appeared on the AUS website, it read: “Gassan and his friend were both struck by an automobile while riding their bicycles near campus and died instantly”.

Gassan joined the Department of International Studies of the AUS College of Arts and Sciences in Fall Semester 2005. 

He was a valued member of the AUS faculty who will be fondly remembered for a genuine dedication to students, a wry sense of humour, and an ever-present smile, said AUS Interim Provost Kevin Mitchell.

Gassan is survived by his mother, Martha Oehler, and his elder brother, Larry Gassan.