AUB Remembers Robert Haldane West, 100 Years After His Death
|Left to right: Saadallah Shalak, Ibrahim
Khoury, Maroun Kisirwani, Sarah Waterbury, John Waterbury, Nuhad Daghir,
George Najjar, and Ibrahim Hajj visiting West's grave
The American University of Beirut honored Robert Haldane West, one of
its early professors and the man after whom West Hall was named in 1914,
with a simple ceremony in West Hall on December 12. A visit to his grave
by a delegation led by President John Waterbury was also made.
President Waterbury and the delegation laid a wreath on West's tomb in
the Anglo-American Cemetery in Sin-el-Fil, before returning to the campus,
where the President addressed students gathered around West's memorial
plaque in West Hall.
West, who joined AUB-then the Syrian Protestant College-in 1883 immediately
after graduating from Princeton University, served the college for 23
years, teaching higher mathematics, moral philosophy, and astronomy, as
well as filling administrative positions. He died at the early age of
44 in 1906.
Waterbury noted how West was described as a "highly principled, yet
efficient and giving human being, who earned the respect and admiration
of all who worked with him." West was very devoted to students and
spent much of his time studying what motivated them and how to ensure
their welfare. "It is no wonder that the early leaders of the institution
which was to become AUB would name their student hall after Robert Haldane
West," said Waterbury.
The ceremony in West Hall was organized by the University Student Faculty
Committee, whose current vice president is business student, Lama Andari.
"[West's] presence lingers in this building, for we all will always
cherish the 23 years he spent serving this honorable institution,"
said Andari. "Countless students mention his name practically daily,
since we consider West Hall our second home." She noted how students
spend hours every day in the various rooms of West Hall, which houses
student clubs and serves as a venue for many student and academic activities.