Western University to honour students lost in Iran plane crash with degrees, scholarship

A table for remarks is set up during a vigil at Western University honouring four students killed in in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. Sawyer Bogdan / 980 CFPL

Western University has announced plans to honour four students killed in a devastating plane crash last month with posthumous degrees and a scholarship.

On Jan. 8, 176 people, including 57 Canadians, were killed when Iran’s military fired two missiles at Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

Among the victims were Western students Ghazal Nourian, Milad Nahavandi, Hadis Hayatdavoudi and Sajedeh Saraeian. Saraeian was pursuing a master’s degree at the university while the other three were pursuing PhDs.

READ MORE: London remembers four Western students killed in Tehran plane crash

According to Western News, a community newspaper that focuses on the university, the move was announced on Feb. 21 during a gathering to mark the 40th day since the crash in Iran. A Western spokesperson confirmed the move to Global News.

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A description for the Feb. 21 event on Western’s website notes that “marking the 40th day after death is an important custom in Persian culture.”

According to Western’s policy on degree requirements and graduation, posthumous degrees may be granted at a convocation ceremony, so long as there is approval from the program’s dean.

READ MORE: University of Alberta researchers vow to complete work left by Iran plane disaster victims

The university also announced the creation of the Flight 752 Memorial Graduate Scholarship in Engineering and Science. The scholarship would be awarded annually to a full-time master’s or doctoral student in the Faculty of Engineering or the Faculty of Science.

The scholarship would be based on academic achievement and research merit with preference given to an international student from Iran.

As of Friday morning, donations are still being accepted for the scholarship.

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