When Majid Salim’s advisor for his Ph.D. program told him about a teaching opportunity
in Angola, Salim told him he didn’t want to go overseas.
“He said, ‘No, Angola, Indiana,’ and I said, ‘I don’t want to go to India,’ ” Salim
recalled. “He said, ‘Just a minute. It’s not Africa. It’s not India. It’s in Indiana.”
Salim was completing his program at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1984. Already
teaching classes at Wayne State and nearby Highland Park Community College, he knew
he wanted to continue teaching for a career.
He also enjoyed the lakes around Detroit, so the idea of living in a lake community
appealed to him. An interview at Tri-State University confirmed it was the place for
“Not only did the university fit me, but the area was beautiful,” he said.
Salim retired at the end of the spring semester after 35 years and was recognized
with professor emeritus status. He wasn’t surprised he stayed at Tri-State and Trine
for so long.
“I knew that wherever I would go, I wasn’t the type that would keep on jumping from
one job to the other, because money wasn’t the motivation for me,” he said. “I’m the
kind that if I make a little bit less money I’d rather go with a job I like.”
He came to Tri-State as one of three full-time chemical engineering faculty, and immediately
worked to build the culture of the department.
“I came here the first semester and I said, ‘They have no activities for (the American
Institute of Chemical Engineers),’ ” he said. “So right away I got a condo on the
lake and in the spring I said, ‘I’m going to invite my chemical engineering students
over to my place and have a picnic.’ ”
Now held in the fall, the annual AIChE picnic continues to be a tradition at Trine.
“When alumni come, they always say they remember those picnics,” he said.
One tradition, however, has not continued.
“In December, after the last week of classes, we used to go out and play football
in the snow. We would make chili and hot dogs and things like that,” he recalled.
“But now that the faculty’s getting older we don’t play football.”
He has seen many changes to the campus infrastructure since 1984, and said the student
body today is much more diverse than when he arrived, with many more international
“The students are very special,” he said. “Most of them are the first in their family
to go to college, so I find they’re more serious. They’re here to study.”
Though retired from full-time duties, Salim still plans to teach Polymers for a year
or two in the fall, and travel to warmer climates in the winter. He also plans to
volunteer at schools in Angola and Fremont, talking about science to middle school
students, and to continue helping Trine’s AIChE chapter.
“They still want to have me hold the picnic every year in August,” he said. “I’m glad
to do that.”
Photo: Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president, left, and John Shannon, Ph.D.,
vice president for academic affairs, right, present Majid Salim, Ph.D., with professor
emeritus status at the Commencement Breakfast on May 4.