Ahmed A. Elnaggar, 1931-2019

Highly-respected educator, artist, and architect Dr. Ahmed A. Elnaggar, (87), passed from this earthly realm on July 12th2019, having lived a life filled with great laughter, adventure, and love.

He was surrounded by his loving family including his wife of 62 years, Nawal (Amal) Moussa (Taha) Elnaggar, daughter, Hanaa Elnaggar Lasheen (Mahmoud), son Hani Ahmed Elnaggar (Julianna) and granddaughters, Yasmeen and Lilah Grace. Dr. Elnaggar was predeceased by his parents, Ahmed Hassan Elnaggar and Nagaat El-Ayouni, and brothers Mohammed and Hassan Elnaggar. He is survived by sisters Sakina Farouk Abdel Rahmaan and Amira Khamis. Memorial services were held at the ADAMS Center in Sterling, VA followed by burial services at National Memorial Park (Gardens of Madina) in Falls Church, VA.

Born September 19, 1931 in the seaside city of Alexandria, Egypt, Dr. Elnaggar distinguished himself among his peers at an early age. His highest-in-country secondary marks paved the way for his matriculation at Alexandria University with a Bachelor of Architecture (with Distinction). Degree in hand, he worked as an Instructor at his alma mater for several years as a member of the Faculty of Engineering.

During this time, he met the woman with whom he would embark on a lifelong romantic adventure. Doc and Nawal were married in 1957 and, within several months, departed the country on a new journey to Zurich, Switzerland where he received a fellowship to undertake Urban Development Studies Research at the Eidengnossiah Technische Hochschule (ETH). His work there caught the attention of the graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania where he was recruited to study and receive his Master of City and Regional Planning degree in 1961. Those accomplishments netted an invitation to pursue his Doctor of Architecture in Urban Design which was conferred upon his successful defense of his dissertation “Gateways, Urban Centers and the City” at the Catholic University of America (1964).

This led to his 50-year career teaching architecture and urban design and planning; first, at Ein-Shams University in Cairo and then at Howard University. While at Howard, his role extended beyond the classroom to include multiple stints as Interim Chairman of the Department of Architecture and as a Member and Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate to include a three-year appointment to the Board of Trustees of the University.His zeal for inclusion of multi-stakeholder input as the foundation of a participatory process in governing the school and the grassroots efforts he supported led to the administration, faculty, and students coining and adopting his lifelong, affectionate nickname, “Doc.”

Dr. Elnaggar was also an entrepreneur having co-founded Elnaggar Associates, Inc. alongside his wife. It was through this endeavor that the Shaw Neighborhood/14thStreet Corridor Urban Renewal Project was born. Decades later, this inner city rebirth has served as a valuable blueprint for city planners as to how tremendous growth can be realized while working in conjunction with the community to achieve great strides and maintaining the original vision for the area.

Dr. Elnaggar has been the recipient of various research contracts and has provided services as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Information Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), among many others.Internationally, Dr. Elnaggar was designated as a “Nominator” for the Tenth Cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (Geneva), served the Foundation for Architecture Synthesis (Seville), the Ministry of Housing and New Communities of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, and the World Bank/Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“Al-Madina Al-Munawwara: Case Study”).

In a faculty profile, Doc said ‘much of my talent, I believe, is inherited from my father who was an interior and furniture designer and master craftsman.’ In that piece, he recalled amazement of many of his father’s keen sense of proportion and articulation in detail. Inherited or not, he used much of his skill, firstly, as an artist who sketched and painted well into the night that fueled one-man exhibits in Alexandria, Egypt, Nuebert Gallery in Zurich, International House in Philadelphia, University of Colorado and Friends of the Middle East AFME in Washington, DC.

He is and will be missed by many but his memory will remain with us, forever. A kind man, he was known for passing along great advice at just the right time including this life tenet:

‘Life is filled with abundance; be generous.’

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