“ Ali was one of my all-time favorite people.
As Dean of UVic Faculty of Business, he built a warm, inclusive, and high-achieving culture remarkably free of the politics and in-fighting that plague most academic faculties. He worked harder than all of us, and was a better teacher and more productive researcher than most of us. He was an eternal optimist. He believed even the most difficult and recalcitrant faculty member had something great to contribute, and he worked tirelessly to make that happen. The two years I worked with Ali, Elango, Pat, and others on the Delta Task Force, holding retreats with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community stakeholders that brought us all together and created, or confirmed, our school’s identity and mission, were among the most rewarding of my work career.
Ali’s office door was always open, and I regularly dropped by on my way home to talk with him about whatever was going on, under the clock on his wall that told the time backwards. Ali and Ann opened their home to all of us and taught us about Iranian holidays.
After I left UVic for Japan, I twice got Ali to come to Kyoto to teach an intensive version of his “Power and Politics in Organizations” course to our MBA students at Doshisha Business School. The students loved it.
Ali knew how to have fun. He always tolerated, even encouraged, my “guerrilla live” musical performances, from “Fa-fa-fa-faculty of business” at new-student orientation to David Wilcox’s “Layin Pipe” in some office on a Friday afternoon. In Japan, we ate okonomi-yaki and drank a lot of beer, and my wife Ana and I took Ali and Ann to karaoke in downtown Kyoto. It was their first time, and they quickly got into it.
RIP Ali! ”