AUB Board of Trustees Selects Peter F. Dorman As New President  
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April 2008 Vol. 9 No. 6


AUB Board of Trustees Selects Peter F. Dorman As New President

Professor Peter F. Dorman (photo copyright Steve Sherman)

On March 21, 2008, the AUB Board of Trustees unanimously voted to elect Peter F. Dorman as the fifteenth president of the American University of Beirut.

Dorman is a professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute and in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.

Dorman will succeed John Waterbury, who has been serving with distinction since 1998. The announcement follows a year-long international search that solicited the input of consultants, faculty, staff, students, and alumni worldwide. "The search demanded intense coordination of our constituencies and a unique understanding of AUB, its goals, and future needs. I would particularly like to recognize the diligent work of the presidential search committee, led by Board of Trustees Vice Chair Philip S. Khoury during the selection process," said Dr. Thomas Q. Morris, chair of the board. In a statement made following the announcement, Dorman said:

"Having spent my childhood in Lebanon and much of my career in the Middle East, I have a strong appreciation of the tremendous impact AUB and its graduates have in the region. It is an honor and privilege to lead the University. We cannot underestimate the positive influence that AUB, with its outstanding Medical Center, its forward-thinking research, community outreach, and liberal arts education, has on the local community and the region as a whole."

Dorman, who did his undergraduate studies at Amherst (BA, 70) and at the University of Chicago (PhD, 85), is the great-great grandson of Daniel Bliss, the founder of AUB.

Peter Dorman will bring to the presidency a record of academic accomplishment as a humanist and an international leader in the study of the ancient Near East, and in particular in the field of Egyptology, in which he is a noted historiographer, epigrapher, and philologist. The author and editor of several major books and many articles on the study of ancient Egypt, he is probably best known for his historical work on the reign of Hatshepsut and the Amarna period.

His most recent monograph, "Faces in Clay: Technique, Imagery, and Allusion in a Corpus of Ceramic Sculpture from Ancient Egypt" (2002), examines artisanal craftsmanship in light of material culture, iconography, and religious texts. In 2007, he and Betsy M. Bryan of the Johns Hopkins University came out with an edited volume entitled Sacred Space and Sacred Function in Ancient Thebes.

An academic leader and administrator since 2002, Dorman chaired with great success the distinguished Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Prior to that, he spent nine years (1988-1997) heading the epigraphic efforts at Chicago House in Luxor, Egypt. From 1977 to 1988, he held curatorial positions in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Dr. Morris said "AUB is in the midst of an exciting period of change and transition, and we look forward to working with Peter to capitalize on the energy and amazing growth that has been building at the University in recent years. He has a strong commitment to strengthening AUB's research environment and understands that the University's success depends not only on the growth and success of its new PhD programs, but also on the continuous improvement of its core undergraduate programs. He is committed to diversifying our student body, to attracting and retaining outstanding faculty from around the world, and to increased outreach and service to Lebanon and its region." During President Waterbury's tenure at AUB, the University conducted a strategic academic review of AUB's strengths and potential, developed the Campus Master Plan, and successfully completed a five-year fundraising campaign (the Campaign for Excellence, which raised more than $170 million) to celebrate the University's 140th anniversary.