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Habib Family and Muslim Studies Endowed Scholarships

Make a gift to one or both of John Habib’s Endowed Scholarships

John Habib

John Habib has a great story to share, one that is international but is also uniquely American. Dr. Habib has chosen to share his story and his generosity by establishing two endowed scholarships at James Madison College. The John S. Habib Scholarship in Muslim Studies was created in 2006 and recently endowed. The Habib Family Endowed Scholarships in James Madison College will be awarded for the first time this academic year. To understand the significance of these gifts read about John and his family.

The youngest of 11 children, John was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 7, 1930, the last of five boys and six girls to Sasin Habib El Khoury Hannah and Mary Backus Saad Ishaq, both of whom immigrated from remote Lebanese mountain villages in 1900 and 1896 respectively. Sasin and Mary were married in St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral in Detroit in January of 1904, and they both became naturalized US citizens later that year.

“By the time I came along, America was in a full depression and my parents, like many Americans, lost everything they had worked for except their faith in God and in America. Like most Americans they picked themselves up and started over,” John stated. “They taught their children love of country and for each other, and respect for others, and by their example the blessings and rewards of the work ethic. I can still hear my mother’s exhortation, ‘thank God you were born in this country,’ when as kids we got to complaining.”

John benefited from the cumulative sacrifices and love of his parents and ten older siblings, having enjoyed a distinguished career as a US diplomat, national security officer, management consultant and professor. With a deep desire to remember his family’s struggle, grace and generosity, John established a special room marked with a plaque in memory of his parents at St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, his mother’s favorite charity. After recognizing his eldest brother, David J. Habib, with a scholarship at the University of Michigan, John also wanted to perpetuate the memory and names of his other nine siblings by creating the Habib Family Endowed Scholarship in James Madison College at Michigan State University. The first three siblings’ scholarships will be awarded for the 2018-19 academic year, followed by three more siblings’ scholarships next year, and the last three Habib siblings’ scholarships in the 2020-21 academic year. The Habib Family Scholarships will assist with tuition for Madison students for generations to come.

John Habib was first introduced to James Madison College as a visiting professor at MSU during the 2005-06 academic year, in which he shared his knowledge and experiences about Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and America by teaching courses on international relations. Once on campus, John met Professor Emeritus Mohammed Ayoob and was impressed by Ayoob’s studies and work, particularly, “The Many Faces of Political Islam.” John’s relationship with Professor Ayoob and his respect and appreciation for Ayoob’s leadership of the Muslim Studies Program at MSU are primary inspirations for establishing the Habib Scholarships. “I knew the urgent need for Americans to better understand the Islamic Middle East.” John’s financial support for student scholarships advances this understanding, knowledge, and determination to seek solutions to complicated contemporary world issues. John is proud to know that at least one Habib Scholar holds a sensitive US Government position dealing with the Islamic World already, and more are pursuing their goals and dreams to have a positive impact in the future.

Habib Family Endowed Scholarships

Year one Habib Scholarships 2018-19

  • Eva Habib Malcoun – humorous and compassionate
  • Agnes Habib Moffett – devoted daughter and mother
  • Bergita Habib Nahas – classy and astute

Second Set of Habib Scholarships 2019-20

  • Jemelia Habib Thomas – devout and fun loving
  • Backus Mitchel Habib – artistic and warm hearted
  • Margaret Habib Pagano – innovative and caring

Third Set of Habib Scholarships 2020-21

  • Lillian Habib Andary – intuitive and responsible
  • Joseph Anthony Habib - protector
  • Thomas Sasin Habib – friend

*The scholarship rotation repeats every third year.

John Habib's story in his own words

Make a gift to one or both of John Habib’s Endowed Scholarships

Gift form for the Habib Family Endowed Scholarships

Gift form for the John Habib Endowed Scholarship in Muslim Studies