519 John Marshall Drive Huntington, WV 25703 p 304.696.6264 www.marshall.edu/foundation Managing editor: Kristin Rhodes GRATITUDE Articles of SPRING 2019 Continued on next page > The Journey of Kindness “Shirine is a determined person. She is very generous. She is smart and she was an excellent student. I encouraged her to pursue her M.B.A. She is among the top international students that I have ever had in class. I have followed her career. I have never seen her teach, but I suspect she is an excellent teacher.” _________ Dr. Robert P. Alexander, former dean of Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business What is the scariest thing you have ever done? Perhaps it was accepting a new job, making a big move or embarking on a new journey. New beginnings are often terrifying, but the reward is phenomenal. For Dr. Shirine Tabatabai Mafi her college journey was just that, traveling thousands of miles from Tehran, Iran, to Huntington, West Virginia. Her parents felt it was safest to send Shirine and her two older sisters, Mariam and Zari Tabatabai, to college at Marshall University, to be near their uncle, Dr. Hassan Vaziri, who journeyed to the United States in the early 1950s to pursue his dream of studying medicine. Dr. Vaziri completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, where he met and married Eva Yarowsky. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Vaziri accepted a job offer in Milton, West Virginia, at Morris Memorial Hospital for Crippled Children. “Back in those days, it was much more difficult for foreign-born doctors to find employment. Therefore, when the Milton position became available, Dr. Vaziri moved to West Virginia,” explained Dr. Mafi. Throughout his nearly 30-year career, Dr. Vaziri started his own private practice and served hospitals in the region, such as Guthrie Hospital, C&O Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Cabell Huntington Hospital and the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Hospital in Huntington. Dr. Vaziri and his wife had three children -- Vita Shoemaker of Charlotte, North Carolina; Dr. Sonya Vaziri of Boston, Massachusetts; and Dr. David Vaziri of Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Vaziri also had two children from a previous marriage -- Shahla Coffie of Gadsden, Alabama; and Peter H. Vaziri of East Hampton, New York. He enjoyed his family, his friends, the quiet town of Huntington and its kind citizens. He was always welcoming friends and strangers, so it was no surprise that his nieces and nephews ventured to the United States to enroll at Marshall University. Dr. Vaziri’s best friend from medical school, Dr. Hassan Mafi, also sent his son, Shahrokh Mafi, to attend Marshall. Shahrokh later met Dr. Vaziri’s niece, Shirine, and the two married. “He always missed his family, whom he left behind when he decided to pursue his medical education, and later stay in the U.S.,” explained Dr. Mafi. “His mother, Iran Vaziri, called everyone by my uncle’s first name because she wanted to have his name and his memories constantly on her mind. He was her favorite because he left home first and never really went back.” As a college freshman in a new country, Dr. Mafi was excited to learn the new language and culture, while furthering her studies and spending time with her family. “Marshall was the friendliest campus I have ever been to. I always felt welcomed and I liked my professors. It was my home for six years,” she said. Shahrokh and Shirine Mafi