Grad Taima Ezzeddine shares Commencement stage with her father, VP Ahmad Ezzeddine

Taima and Ahmad Ezzeddine hugging after graduation
Taima Ezzeddine celebrates with her dad,
Vice President Ahmad Ezzeddine

Most students can’t spot their parents in the stands at graduation, but Taima Ezzeddine won’t have to look for her dad in the crowd. He’ll be on stage next to her.

Ahmad Ezzeddine is Wayne State’s vice president for academic student affairs and global engagement. This will put him front and center when Taima, his oldest child, graduates from the Irvin D. Reid Honors College with a degree in public health after only three years of study.

“Taima was accepted at several schools but, I have to admit, I was immensely pleased when she selected Wayne State,” Ahmad Ezzeddine says. “We are a proud Wayne State family.  I have three degrees from Wayne State, and her mother received her PhD at Wayne State, and we are thrilled that Taima continued our Wayne State tradition. It’ll be bittersweet for me when she receives her degree. I’m so proud of her as a student and young woman, but now I have to accept she’s also a college graduate.”

Taima began her college career during the pandemic taking classes from her home in Farmington Hills, but soon began commuting to campus.

“I graduated high school when the pandemic was at its height,” says Taima. “I was weighing my options and I just felt like Wayne State made the most sense in terms of the context of the world at the time, but I also felt I could get a high-quality education 30 minutes from my house.”

Taima’s Wayne State connections run deep. Her mother Colleen Ezzeddine is a Wayne State alum and current assistant professor in the college of fine, performing and communication arts, and her brother Hassan Ezzeddine is a freshman studying environmental science. Her parents first met on Wayne State’s campus.

Like many high school graduates, Taima wanted to explore her interests before settling on a program, and Wayne State provided that opportunity.

“I feel like a lot of other colleges I was looking at you had to have something set in stone for the next 10 years of your life,” she explains. “At Wayne State I felt I could really explore my options and that’s exactly what happened.”

Taima discovered the public health program, and took advantage of the opportunities Wayne State offered to pursue this passion.

“I am very passionate about reproductive justice and reproductive health care,” says Taima.” My internship experiences I had with the help of Wayne state allowed me to work in that field and see what it’s like on the local level, which I’m so grateful for.”

Taima interned at Corktown Health, an LGBTQ+ focused primary health care center, as a part of her program.

“Whether it was going to different community events and setting up a table with information about PrEP and other HIV prevention tools people can access, or launching a new program about wellness and health, I got lots of cool, different experiences through that,” she says.

Taima hopes to continue to work in public health after graduation. However, before she can start her career, she’ll have to walk on graduation day where her father will be waiting for her.

“I feel like my entire life I’ve been on Wayne State’s campus because both my parents brought me to various events,” says Taima. “I’m excited for that sweet father-daughter moment, it will feel like coming full circle.”

-- By Patrick Bernas, Office of International Programs editorial associate

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