Dr Amir Saeed, who taught at the university for more than a decade, passed away suddenly at his home in South Shields on Sunday, November 24.
A highly regarded media lecturer, teaching subjects in culture, music and race, Dr Saeed joined the University of Sunderland in 2000 and was the former programme leader for BA Media, Culture and Communication.
At the time of his death, he was senior media lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, where he had worked since 2014.
Dr Saeed has been described as a ‘passionate’ and ‘inspirational’ academic by those who knew him.
“He was a wonderful guy and a very good friend to everybody in the faculty,” said Keith Hussein, who worked alongside him for 10 years.
“His death has come as a big shock to us all.”
Dr Saeed was well known for his work campaigning for social justice, the rights of ethnic minorities and the plight of refugees – and for his passionate following of Celtic Football Club.
“Amir was such a charismatic man, so full of life, passion and enthusiasm. He had a huge heart and was warm and generous. He always gave up his time to talk to you, and his intelligence and humour would fill every room,” said former student Kev Lacey.
“He was the most exceptional educator I ever had the pleasure of being taught by, he was genuinely inspiring and made a marked impression in my life.”
Dan Makaveli, a former student and close friend of Dr Saeed, said: “He was an inspirational, passionate and exciting figure as well as being a massive joker and friend to many, and we should choose to remember him for all of these things.”
Friend Kazeem Oloyede commented: “He was kind, caring and compassionate. He had such a positive impact on many people’s lives.”
While former international student, Espen Ween added: “I would never have the life I have today if it were not for Amir. No person I have ever met has had the same influence on me as a person, my values and beliefs. He made me better person.”