Twenty-eight years and a trip across the world later, one University of Central Missouri alum and his two sons are having a literal homecoming.
Abdul Mutalib Shahab graduated from Central Missouri State University in 1984. He said since then, he has gone on to pursue jobs and opportunities that he is proud of and said it is all thanks to the education he gained at UCM.
Shahab said he grew up in Indonesia and went on to get his associate degree from Kuwait Institute of Technology in engineering.
“I had a dream to continue my studies in America,” Shahab said. “As a student who wanted to study abroad, I did some research about the university, community and the town.”
He said he chose UCM for its unique programs and town facilities, including the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport and Pertle Springs. He also researched the university’s accreditations.
“UCM is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the degree programs are accredited by the National Accreditation Organization,” Shahab said.
Shahab arrived in Warrensburg in January 1982 as a senior student.
He said living on campus was fun and a good way to make friends.
“The university at that time had about 9,850 students with about 64 of them international students,” Shahab said.
According to UCM’s Fact Book, as of 2017 there are 12,333 students with about 944 of them international students.
During his time at UCM, Shahab worked different on campus jobs.
“In the cafeteria, the library, a distributor at the Muleskinner and running for student council. It was a fun and rewarding experience,” Shahab said. “I realized that UCM’s program gave me the opportunity to develop my potential, knowledge and essential skills needed for my future career field.”
In 1986, Shahab received his master’s degree in industrial management.
“Soon after my graduation I moved to Kansas City and had a job with U.S. Toy Company and briefly, in April 1988, I got an offer from LASMO, a British oil company,” Shahab said.
At that time, LASMO was one of the five biggest oil companies in the world and Shahab went on to work at their plant in Indonesia.
“I started my career with LASMO as a production engineer,” Shahab said. “I ended after 28 years as senior manager of Supply Change Management.”
Shahab said he is proud to be an alum of UCM because of the two degrees and his employment.
“The success of an international student can happen after they get their education from UCM,” Shahab said.
He said as time went on he could not stop thinking about Warrensburg and dreamed of returning, this time with his sons, Prince Alain Sadique and Prince Mohammed Haykal.
The three arrived in January 2018 and Haykal began school at UCM in August 2018. He is a freshman psychology major and Sadique goes to State Fair Community College in Sedalia, but will be transferring to UCM next semester.
Since Haykal has been at UCM, his father has gotten to show him around.
“I think it’s nice to just watch him go around because he’s familiar with the place,” Haykal said. “He’s always talking about, ‘Oh I’ve been here. I’ve been here.’”
Haykal said it took some time to get used to small mannerisms in the U.S.
“It took awhile to get used to mostly because of the little things,” Haykal said. “People hold doors. That took awhile to get used to because no one holds doors back home. But now I like it. It feels homey.”
Haykal is involved with the International Bible Club on campus and said he has made some memories there.
“We went camping together at Lake of the Ozarks for two days and it was fun,” Haykal said.
His father stressed the importance of getting involved and doing things while he’s here.
“I joined the activities because I wanted to learn things,” Shahab said.
Haykal is doing the same.
Now Shahab is retired, which is why he has been able to come back. He owns a hospitality business in Indonesia, the Shisha Cafe, with three restaurants in Jakarta and two in Bali.
For now, Shahab said he is looking forward to homecoming and showing Haykal what the day is like.
“I am here to see homecoming day,” Shahab said. “Now I’m here and the time has refreshed my memories after 28 years.”