Men on the Move: Ali Houshmand

By A.D. Amorosi, Kristin Detterline, Sarah Jordan and Robert Strauss | April 3, 2019 | People

Ali Houshmand


WHAT’S NOW Raising funds for Rowan University

WHAT’S NEXT Spreading the word about his new Rowan Career Closet

Even when he’s away from work, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand is still thinking about work—especially when he’s busy with his favorite pastimes. Two of those are cooking and gardening (he started sharing the hot sauce he made with peppers from his garden with friends). “ Three years ago, someone asked me for 10 jars to auction off for scholarships,” says Houshmand, whose journey from deep poverty in Iran to working in academia is a true rags-to-riches story. Two weeks later, 10 jars became 50, and by last summer, Houshmand had 380 pepper plants in his garden. It has become an educational process, with students helping grow the plants and run the business of what is now Houshmand’s Hazardous Hot Sauce, spinning off more than $30,000 for the Student Emergency Scholarship Fund. With his passion for clothes, Houshmand donated nearly two dozen of his old suits for students to wear at job interviews. This year, he put out a call, and now Rowan job-seekers have more than 300 interview suits, dresses and accessories from which to choose. Says Houshmand, “Now those in need are confident and are placed on equal footing with others.”

Photography by: Photograph by Dave Moser