Zalfa Ali Ahmad (MD ’82) died on May
11, 2004. She was 47. Her friend Samira Atallah writes that for many
of Zalfa’s friends and family, she remains at the center of their
universe. For ten years, she battled a cruel illness that finally
claimed her tired body, but never did she lose her beautiful spirit
nor her immense ability to give, to love, and to care. She left her
adoring husband Nimr Abboud, her loving family, and her devoted
friends, patients, and colleagues in deep sorrow and sadness.
Zalfa was born in Beirut in 1957 and
grew up in Nabatieh, where she attended the National Evangelical
School until 1974. She finished her high school studies at
International College before enrolling at AUB, where she earned her MD
in 1982 and completed her residency in dermatology in 1985. From 1987
to 1989, Dr. Ahmad worked at Al-Salam Hospital in Saada, Yemen. In
1991, she set up her private clinic at the Gefinor Center in Beirut
and soon became one of the most respected dermatologists in the
country. Throughout her career, Dr. Ahmad was also affiliated with
various medical centers in Lebanon and the United States, including
most recently the United Medical Group in Lebanon.
Attalah writes that
Zalfa, in being “confronted prematurely with her
imminent mortality, embraced life peacefully and
patiently, yearning to learn more, to share, and to
always remind us that ‘in simplicity lies life’s
Nazar Yeznick Davidian (MD ’48) died on June 5,
2004 in Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. A specialist in internal
medicine in Essex County, New Jersey, Dr. Davidian maintained an office in
Newark for over fifty years. He served on the staff of several hospitals in the
Newark area before retiring in 2000. Fluent in five languages, he was a captain
in the US Army Medical Corps in Germany during the Korean War.
He is survived by his wife Taquhi, their sons
Yeznick Douglas, Richard, and Winston, and their daughter, Christina.
Mohammad Makhzoumi (BA ’43, BS ’45) died on
August 3, 2003 in Beirut. After completing his undergraduate studies at AUB,
Makhzoumi went on to earn an MS with honors from Michigan University in 1947. He
then returned to Iraq to spend more than 40 years teaching in the Department of
Civil Engineering at Baghdad University, where he was named professor emeritus
in 1985. He was elected head of the Iraqi Order of Engineers and served as the
Iraqi representative in the Confederation of Arab Contractors. Makhzoumi also
served as the Honorary Swedish Consul General in Iraq for almost thirty years,
from 1964 to 1992. In appreciation for his work, the Swedish government bestowed
the Commander of the Order of the Polar Star on him in 1984.
During his long and distinguished career in
Iraq, Makhzoumi and the company that he founded undertook a number of important
engineering projects there with international consulting firms, among them the
Karbala Water Treatment Plant, the Baghdad-Kirkuk-Motorway, the Gulbenkian
People’s Stadium, the Diyala Dam, the Kadhimiya Industrial Compound, and the
Dora Housing Compound.
He is survived by his wife Saniha Amin Zaki,
their son Hasan, who is a doctor in Baltimore, Maryland, and their daughter Jala,
an architect and associate professor of landscape design and eco-management at
Father Luke-Ramzi Malik (BA ’43, MA ’73) died on
October 23, 2003. He was 88. Born in Btirram, Al-Koura in 1916, Malik migrated
with his family to Egypt, where he lived from 1923 to 1938. After several years
of teaching in Iraq, he enrolled in AUB in 1941, where he majored in philosophy.
In 1944, he joined the teaching staff of AUB; but a year later while sitting in
West Hall, he fell into a meditative state and was suddenly engulfed by an
intense vision foretelling the reconciliation and gathering of the children of
Abraham. He thereupon spent the rest of his life serving and writing about that
vision. Malik became a Dominican priest in 1951 and served the Church in France,
West Germany, Lebanon, and the United States. During his years in Lebanon, he
once again enrolled at AUB to study Arabic, in which he earned his MA in 1973.
Throughout his lifetime, Father Luke wrote over twenty-five books in Arabic,
English, French, and German, some of which are available at the Jafet Library.
Nael Martini (BS ’51, MD ’55) died in June 2004.
Born in Aleppo, Syria, Martini attended Aleppo College before transferring to
AUB to undertake his medical studies and earn his MD. Dr. Martini completed his
residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago and then returned to Syria to
practice in Aleppo for five years. In 1968, he immigrated to the United States,
where he joined the staff of Memorial-Sloane Kettering in New York City. In
1975, he was appointed chief of thoracic service in the Department of Surgery, a
position he held for over 15 years. During his tenure, he held many teaching
positions, including that of director of Surgical Education. His legacies to
medicine are significant, among them his innovations in treatment modalities,
which continue to prolong the lives of lung cancer patients, as well as his
years of dedication to teaching the art and science of medicine to hundreds of
Dr. Martini is survived by his wife Robin and
their children, Jenny, Suzanne, and John.
Rafic Melhem (BS ’51, MD ’55), distinguished
pediatric radiologist, died on June 18, 2004. He was 72. Born on May 4, 1932, in
Kfarhazir, Al-Koura, Melhem completed his high school education in Tripoli,
after which he enrolled in AUB, where he earned his MD in 1955. After two years
of residency in radiology at the AUB Medical Center, he spent two years at the
Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and at the Ohio State University
Hospital (where he also served as an instructor). Upon returning to Lebanon in
1960, he joined AUB as an instructor in radiology and subsequently rose in the
ranks to become full professor in 1974. He served as chairman of the Radiology
Department from 1968 until 1986, when the war prompted his departure from
In the United States, he and his family settled
in Mobile, Alabama, where he became professor of radiology and chief of
pediatric radiology at the University of South Alabama School of Medicine. He
remained there until his return to Lebanon and AUB in 1997.
Dr. Melhem was a renowned pediatric radiologist.
He made more than 45 contributions to world literature in the field of radiology
and trained generations of radiologists in Lebanon and in the United States. He
received a number of honors and awards during his lifetime, among them the
Lebanese Order of the Cedars (1972) and fellowships in the American College of
Radiology (1972) and the Royal College of Radiologists (1986). In addition, he
twice received the Excellence in Teaching Award of the USA Radiology Residents
(in 1994 and 1996).
Dr. Melhem will be remembered for his strong
personality and distinctive voice—and especially for his rough exterior, which,
for those who knew him well, hid a deep concern for and commitment to the
education of medical students and residents, as well as an unwavering devotion
to his alma mater. The latter became most manifest during his stay in Alabama,
where he mobilized the Lebanese-American community to work for AUB.
Dr. Melhem is survived by his wife Muna and
their three children, Rania, Elias, and Nada.
Emile Wadih Nasrallah (BE ’43) died on April 20,
2004. He was 83. Born in Zahleh in 1921, Nasrallah went to the United States in
1946 soon after receiving his AUB degree in civil engineering to study at
California Polytechnic, where he earned degrees in aeronautical engineering and
aircraft and engine maintenance. He worked in New York until 1951, then returned
to Lebanon to become chief engineer for Middle East Airlines from 1951 to 1966.
During that period, he published a book on aircraft maintenance and also taught
engineering courses at the Lebanese University. From 1966 to 1986, Nasrallah
worked as production manager in Lipoul, a poultry business.
He is survived by his wife Suha (BA ’60) and his
five children: Ranya (BS in Agriculture ’85; MA ’03), Wadih (BE ’85), Rula (BE
’88), Maya (BA ’90), and Tony (currently enrolled in the History Department).
Yusif Sayigh (BBA ’38, MA ’52) renowned economic
expert and former faculty member, died on May 11, 2004. Born in Palestine in
1916, Sayigh earned his BA in business administration and his MA in economics
from AUB. After earning his PhD in political economy from Johns Hopkins
University in 1957, he was appointed assistant professor at AUB’s Department of
Economics. He was promoted to full professor
in 1963, and was director of the Economic
Research Institute at AUB in 1963-64. He remained a professor at AUB until 1975,
when he took early retirement. Sayigh was visiting research associate at Harvard
University jointly with the Center for International Affairs and the Center for
Middle Eastern Studies (1959-60) and was also a visiting associate professor at
Princeton University (1960). In 1984-85 he was honored as Distinguished Visiting
Scholar at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, and was named senior
associate member of St. Anthony’s College at Oxford University.
Yusif Sayigh was an assiduous researcher and
writer, with 15 books to his credit (of which the 2-volume study, The Economies
of the Arab World and Determinants of Arab Economic Development, is the best
known), as well as 40 journal articles (in English) and numerous others in
Arabic. His main field of specialization was economic development in the Arab
world, but he also wrote about oil, the Lebanese economy, the Israeli economy,
and Arab economic integration.
In 1964-65, on sabbatical leave from AUB, Sayigh
served as adviser to the Planning Board of Kuwait, drawing up a five-year
development plan for the country. After retiring from AUB, he served as
consultant to the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Arab
Fund for Economic and Social Development, the League of Arab States, FAO, and
the Arab Industrial Development Organization. He was a member of the Board of
Trustees of the Center for Arab Unity Studies since 1976, and of the Economic
Research Forum for the Arab Countries, Iran, and Turkey from 1993 to 1996. He
also served as president of the Arab Society for Economic Research from 1992 to
1995. In 1993 he supervised a $12
billion, seven-year economic plan for building
the new nation of Palestine.
He is survived by his wife Rosemary and their
three children, Yezid, Joumana, and Faris.
Georgiana Stevens (member of the AUB
International Advisory Council) died in April 2004, just six months short of her
100th birthday. She was known as a spirited and energetic writer on the Middle
East and spent twenty-five years as a correspondent for The Atlantic and The
Economist. In recent years, she became better known as a philanthropist,
contributing generously to AUB and many other institutions. Stevens was born in
Dallas, Oregon, to the pioneering Gerlinger family, founders of Willamette
Industries, one of the largest lumber firms in the United States. She attended
the University of California/Berkeley in the 1920s, developed a life-long
attachment to the Bay area, and made it her permanent home base.
Shortly after graduating, she met Harley
Stevens, who was practicing law with the firm of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (now
Pillsbury Winthrop LLP). The firm assigned Stevens to Standard Oil Company of
California, which took the couple to Saudi Arabia. During World War II, Mr.
Stevens joined the Office of Strategic Services and Mrs. Stevens worked on an
OSS project. In 1947, the Stevenses moved to Beirut, where he worked with the
American Independent Oil Company. It was in Beirut that Mrs. Stevens developed
her love for the Middle East and became a correspondent. In the 1950s, the
couple returned to California and became active in the World Affairs Council of
Northern California. After Mr. Stevens died in 1959, Mrs. Stevens continued
writing about the Middle East and became a board member of the Near East
Foundation and a member of the AUB International Advisory Board.