Winter 2008 Vol. VI, No. 2
AUB Thanks You!
“We strive for excellence in our undergraduate liberal arts and professional curricula so that we can compete globally, as we should, with the very best educational institutions. We seek the physical transformation of our campus, rendering the entire area between the Corniche and Bliss Street an architectural and aesthetic gem.”
This is how President John Waterbury described the goals
of the Campaign for Excellence when it was launched in 2002. Just five
years later, AUB is celebrating the successful end of a groundbreaking
campaign has also provided critically needed funds to renovate classrooms
and laboratories that are enhancing the educational experience of our students.
For example, Professor and Chair of the Biology Department Hala Muhtasib
reports that senior students have already benefited greatly from the renovation
of one of the biology labs and that the department plans to buy additional
equipment that will enable undergraduates to take advantage of the “latest
technologies in cell and molecular biology.”
The Science and Mathematics Education Center (SMEC) Lab in Fisk Hall has been renovated to serve as both a multipurpose classroom and as a science and math lab. It is now equipped as a smart classroom (with LCDs and Internet access) and with a number of laptops that Professor Saouma BouJaoude, chair of the Department of Education, explains, transforms the classroom into “a high-tech and interactive teaching laboratory.”
With generous support from Dr. Artemis Joukowsky and AUB Trustee Professor Martha Sharp Joukowsky and the Society of the Friends of the Museum, AUB renovated the Archaeological Museum building and improved the preservation and display of its collection. The director of the museum, Dr. Leila Badre, reports, “We have been able to protect our priceless collection for future generations while at the same time making it more accessible to the people who visit the museum today.”
Although the campaign ended on December 31, 2007, the building and reconstruction projects will continue for many years. The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Relations is scheduled to be completed in early 2010. The University is also in the programming phase of a planned renovation of the Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners) Architecture Building, which was dedicated in early October 2007.
No matter how you measure it, the Campaign for Excellence has been a success. The University is stronger not just because of the amount of money that was raised, but because of the way in which it was raised as well. Although AUB has benefited enormously from a handful of extraordinarily generous donors during this campaign, the University is also stronger because of the tens of thousands of alumni and friends who have made much smaller gifts, thereby broadening AUB’s base of support. These gifts reflect their support for AUB and its mission “to provide excellence in education, to participate in the advancement of knowledge through research, and to serve the peoples of the Middle East and beyond.”
140 Years of Medical Education and 100 Years of Health Care
Throughout the course of this five-year campaign, several AUB faculties and schools celebrated important anniversaries. Of all these anniversaries, two that were celebrated in 2007—140 years of medical education and 100 years of health care— stand out. (See the summer 2007 issue of MainGate, which focused on these two milestone events.) A number of AUB alumni and friends made gifts during this campaign that have strengthened medicine at AUB including Munir Abu-Haidar and his family, who established the Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute—a multi-disciplinary neuroscience institute focused on research and patient care. (See MainGate, summer 2007, “A Healthier Health Care System,” pages 28-29.) Patients are now being seen in the new Pierre Y. Aboukhater (Fahed) Medical Arts Facility, which includes four floors of private clinics and the Graham and Meredith Rooke Wound Care Center. Mamdouha Bobst’s gift to support women’s health is being used to establish the Mamdouha El-Sayed Bobst Breast Center—an independent area exclusively for women’s breast imaging that is being equipped with a new digital mammography unit, an ultrasound system, and clinics for breast examination. (See MainGate, winter 2007, “Campaign Update,” pages 12-13.) The Naef Basile Foundation established an adult cancer center in fulfillment of the late Dr. Basile’s wish to create a state-of-the-art adult cancer facility in Lebanon—the country of his birth. To honor their father Dr. Karekin G. Tabourian, who was an AUB alumnus and a distinguished faculty member for many years, his sons, former MP Andre Tabourian and Dr. Gerard Tabourian, made gifts to AUB to name the Karekin G. Tabourian Dentofacial Clinic. The clinic, which was inaugurated in June 2007, includes seven dental operating rooms and offers orthodontic services and dental and maxillofacial treatments.
AUB is in the midst of a multi-year comprehensive project to renovate, upgrade, and enhance its engineering facilities. It inaugurated the CCC Scientific Research Building in February 2007 and began site preparation for the new Ray R. Irani Oxy Engineering Complex (IOEC) this past August. The Bechtel Building, which was completed in 1952, will continue to serve as the main classroom and faculty office building for engineering at AUB. The renovated building will house classrooms, the Taha Mikati Engineering and Science Library with designated space for graduate students, the Jassim Al-Qatami Engineering Lecture Hall, the dean’s office, conference rooms, all faculty offices and support spaces, and the cafeteria. These new facilities will be used primarily by the more than 1,800 undergraduate engineering students at AUB—and by students enrolled in the four new PhD programs in civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, environmental and water resources engineering, and mechanical engineering that AUB introduced in fall 2007.
Business Excellence and Professionalism: The Suliman S. Olayan School of Business
In consideration of an extraordinarily generous gift from the Olayan family, AUB’s Board of Trustees decided in 2003 to name the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business in honor of Suliman S. Olayan, a good friend of AUB and a member of its Board of Trustees. At the groundbreaking ceremony on June 24, 2005, his son Khaled, chairman of the Olayan Group, remembered that it was the Olayan Group’s Board of Directors that convinced his father, a modest man, that by linking his name with AUB he would be lighting “a beacon of business excellence and professionalism” in the region.
The new building, with a built-up area of approximately 12,000 square meters, will include specially designed facilities for the undergraduate, MBA, and Executive MBA (EMBA) programs.This four-story facility will feature a 300- person auditorium, a corporate liaison center, a technology suite, computer labs, student auditoriums, stepped and flat classrooms, seminar and conference rooms, student research clusters, faculty and student lounges, faculty offices, and outdoor courtyards and plazas. Work on the building, which is ongoing, is scheduled for completion in October 2008.
American Studies at AUB
The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) held a lively program of lectures and conferences, awards travel and research grants to support faculty research in American studies, and offers a minor in American studies. CASAR held its second international conference in early January 2008 with the theme, “Liberty and Justice: America and the Middle East.” More than 60 scholars from 15 countries in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East addressed the current state of relations between the United States and the Middle East.
Sami Honein, an economics student minoring in American studies, describes the introduction to American studies course that he took as “an amazing class, filled with a huge amount of knowledge about the history of the United States, the culture behind it and the changes it went through to become the US we know today.” He says he gained “a whole new perspective” on the United States as a result of taking the course.
Josiane Bechara, who graduated in 2007, credits her minor in American studies with allowing her “to understand the American outlook on the world and to a certain extent why the US acts the way it does.” Natacha Yazbeck, who is currently an instructor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at AUB, is grateful for the “space” that she and her classmates were given to “question and express our position vis à vis the material.” Nady Salame, a business student, notes, “What fascinated me most in all the courses I took was the power and the effects of the ‘American Dream’ as well as the whole imagery created around the New World.”
Professor Patrick McGreevy, the director of CASAR, and his colleagues will soon be joined by Professor William H. Marling, who has been appointed in 2008-09 to the Edward Said Chair in American Studies as a visiting professor. Marling is currently a professor of English and codirector of the World Literature Program at Case Western Reserve University.
Revitalizing Student life: the Charles W. Hostler Student Center
If you first spot the Hostler Student Center from upper campus—from the walkway below Marquand House, for example—you are struck by how “open” it is. You really can see right through it to the sea beyond. This magnificent structure that rises from the west side of the Green Field includes a 300-seat auditorium and a wide array of sports facilities including an indoor swimming pool. Associate Dean for University Sports Leonard J. Nardone says that the center, which opened in early 2008, “will be the focal point for a variety of educational and health awareness programming” in addition to intramural team sports such as soccer, flag football, basketball, and volleyball. Individual students will be able to play badminton, tennis, squash, and racquetball. There will also be classes in judo, karate, yoga, aerobics, and dance. Nardone explains that he and his colleagues will be listening to and responding to students’ interests but, he adds quickly, “this doesn’t mean that everything that students suggest can be implemented or implemented immediately.”
Although the focus is on sports, the Hostler Student Center will also include a cafeteria, an auditorium, an amphitheater, and several rooftop terraces that promise some of the most spectacular views in Beirut. In addition to concrete benches, the terraces will feature trees and natural turf. There will also be an outdoor amphitheater that can be reserved for special events.
Leading the Way: Kamal Shair
The Campaign for Excellence was led by AUB Trustee Kamal Shair. His leadership, energy, dedication, and generosity inspired a record number of AUB alumni and friends to make donations to support the campaign. In addition, he made gifts himself to name buildings, endow research laboratories, establish scholarships, and support research at AUB.
Dr. Shair’s almost 60-year relationship with AUB dates back to the late 1940s when he spent two years as an engineering student in Beirut before transferring to the University of Michigan where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering in 1949 and 1950. He received a doctor of engineering degree from Yale University in 1955. In 1956, he was appointed an assistant professor at the School of Engineering and Architecture at AUB. This was the same year that he became the founding senior partner and managing director of Dar Al-Handasah. He continues to control the strategic and operating plans of the subsidiaries of Dar Al-Handasah.
When he spoke at the dedication of the Dar Al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) Architecture Building and the Kamal A. Shair Central Research Science Laboratory on October 3, 2007, he noted “AUB’s unique dedication to high quality education and a constant pursuit of excellence.” He went on to express his “deep-rooted commitment” to the goals of the campaign this way: “By working to keep AUB strong we are making sure that life will be abundant with the gifts of freedom and dignity.” There is no question that AUB is much stronger as a result of Trustee Shair’s tireless efforts on behalf of this campaign.