Mathew Zachariah

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Mathew Zachariah May 24, 1935-October 25, 2016 Mathew Zachariah passed away on October 25, 2016. He was born in Tiruvalla, Kerala, India in 1935. He spent part of his childhood in Miri, Borneo where his father was an accountant with an oil company, returning to India with his mother in the early 1940's when a Japanese invasion was imminent. He had and older and younger brother. His father suffered much during the war years in Borneo and died in 1946 on his return to India. In 1942, he was informally adopted by his mother's older sister and husband, a childless couple, and raised as their son. In the early 1960s he moved to the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar to advance his post-secondary education, and in 1966 accepted the position of assistant professor with the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. He became an associate professor in 1969 and full professor in 1973.

Dr. Zachariah holds several degrees, including a BA in economics from University of Madras (1956), B.Ed from University of Delhi (1960), MS in Education, English and Social Sciences from State University of New York (New Paltz, 1962) and a PhD in Social Sciences and Education from University of Colorado at Boulder (1965). A comparative sociologist of education, he made significant contributions to academic services at University of Calgary as department head and associate dean in the Faculty of Education. He retired from the U of C in 2000 after more than three decades of service and was honoured as an Emeritus Professor of Education. He continued his community service activities, despite failing health.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a U of C Students' Union Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in 1985 and in 1999, a national award from the Canadian Committee of Students in Education for mentoring masters and doctoral students. He received the Alberta Human Rights Award in 1989, as well as the Internationalization Lifetime Achievement Award by the U of C in 2002. In 2004, Dr. Zachariah was named one of 114 leaders in the university community recognized for outstanding achievement. After his retirement, he was distinguished visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Menno Simons College in Winnipeg.

He was a prolific author and published many books, articles and essays to his credit. He has also published short stories and poems. The leitmotif of his life was to be a promote justice and fairness to people denied their dignity and were oppressed by the dominant economic and cultural institutions.

He was the first Canadian to receive the Honourary Fellow designation from the Comparative and International Education Society, USA (CIES). This honour recognized the contribution Dr. Zachariah has made to the development of comparative and international education throughout his teaching career, as well as the impact he has had on various academic and professional organizations.

He was an Anglican all his life and became more active in the life of his church after retirement.

Dr. Zachariah leaves behind his devoted wife, Saro, of 41 years, his children Miriam, Benjamin, Philip and Alex as well as three grand children Joshua, Micah and Emily.

There will be a viewing on Thursday, October 27 at Mcinnis and Holloway Funeral home and a service at St. James Anglican Church on Friday, October 28 at 3:00 PM. Please donate to Operation Eyesight, Indspire or the Kidney Foundation of Canada in lieu of flowers.


Published in The Calgary Herald from Oct. 27 to Oct. 28, 2016
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