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  Building Updates; AUB Collections; An Exercise in Disaster
Beirut: A World of Art
Special Insert–2009 Calendar Living the Liberal Arts
Rapid Results, Lasting Impact
Maingate Connections
Alumni Happenings
Class Notes
AUB Reflections
In Memoriam
From the President
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors
Beirut: A World of Art - More From the Artists
Connections: I Have Lived More Abundantly
Last Glance: Revisiting Ancient Astronomy

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The College Hall Mini Gallery
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Fall 2008 Vol. VII, No. 1

In Memoriam

Kamal A. Shair (1930- August 21, 2008)
Kamal was one of the most outstanding Trustees of AUB I have known in my long association with the University. His commitment to AUB was unflagging. He became involved with the University in the 1950s, when he studied there for two years before pursuing engineering degrees in the United States. After he received his PhD from Yale University in 1955, he returned to AUB where he taught in the Engineering Department from 1956 to 1962. While at AUB, he recruited four partners to found what would become the world class engineering and architecture consultancy he had dreamed of while he studied in the States. In 1956, Kamal became the founding senior partner and managing director of Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners).

He served on the AUB Board of Trustees from 1990 until his death. He involved himself in the affairs of the institution in many different ways and at trustee meetings he never ceased to ask pertinent questions, cajole the administration, and give us the benefit of his advice. As chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, I am doubly grateful to him for his astounding success in heading the Campaign for Excellence, a campaign which exceeded all expectations. While he generously supported the areas of architecture and engineering, he was also dedicated to creating a culture of philanthropy at AUB by funding a wide range of academic initiatives and capital projects, including the Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (CAMS); the Kamal Shair Strategic Leadership Executive Program at OSB; the Dar Al-Handasah Shair and Partners Architecture Building; the Kamal A. Shair Central Research Science Laboratory; a fund to support doctoral research in engineering and architecture; and the Fingerprints Fund to encourage giving by young alumni.

Kamal served his country and the region in far more ways than I could detail here, but I will mention that he was a member of the Advisory Council of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and the Board of Advisors of the World Bank. He was a member of the Jordan Senate from 1989-2001 and received many prestigious awards including the First Order of Independence Medal, Jordan (1968); the National Cedar Medal, Lebanon (1983); and the Lebanese Order of Merit, Lebanon (2001).

His kindness and enthusiasm, vision, and dedication to the American University of Beirut will be difficult to replicate.

All of us who knew him and worked with him will miss him sorely. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Laura and his family.

Alexander T. Ercklentz
Trustee, AUB

Friends and Colleagues

Renowned film director Youssef Chahine passed away at his Cairo home on July 27. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1925, Chahine was the recipient of an AUB honorary doctorate in 2007 for his outstanding achievements in art, literature, poetry, cinema, history, public service, business, and humanitarian work. Chahine, who received the Cannes Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996, had been active in the Egyptian film industry for almost 60 years, since 1950. The director of more than 40 films, he launched his extraordinary career with the movie Baba Amin. His first film to capture international attention was Bab al-Hadid (Cairo Station), which was produced in 1958.

Ray Wiley Nightingale, professor of economics at AUB (1968-75), passed away on May 31 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. Born in Danforth, Maine in 1936, Nightingale served in the US Army from 1956 to 1958 before attending

Clark University, where he graduated in 1960. He received his master’s degree and PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Massachusetts (1962) and Cornell University (1968). After teaching at AUB, he joined the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, where he stayed until 1997. Nightingale is survived by his sister and brother. His family invites those who knew him to submit memories and stories to a website celebrating his life at 

Leila Raja Iliya, longtime friend and veteran of the AUBMC Women’s Auxiliary
passed away on July 31 in Beirut, Lebanon. Born in Cairo in 1930, she came to Beirut in 1944, and in 1951 she married Raja Iliya (BA ’47, MSCE, PhD UT Austin). She joined the Women’s Auxiliary in 1985, and remained a faithful volunteer for 22 years during which she served as the group’s treasurer, vice president, and president. She was also an active member of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Ras Beirut where she served as its president. Leila Iliya is predeceased by her son Afif (MD ’78) and survived by her husband Professor Emeritus Raja Iliya, son Ramzi (former student), daughter Nida (BArch ’81) and seven grandchildren.

John Ernest Snavely, professor of agricultural engineering at AUB (1954-57), passed away on May 23 at the age of 89. Born on April 20, 1919, in Waterloo, Iowa, Snavely received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Iowa State University in 1941. While working at John Deere (1948-52), he coinvented the continuous power take off (PTO), which was used by John Deere and Co. for about 30 years on many of its tractors. He also worked for John Deere as chief engineer from 1959 to 1970 in Monterrey, Mexico. In 1970 he moved to Loris, South Carolina. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, a son, five grandchildren, and a sister.

AUB business student Namir Fadel Marroush passed away on August 1 in a tragic car accident in the Lebanese village of Aley. Marroush will be missed by his family, friends, AUB staff, and faculty members and the entire Olayan School of Business.

Khalil Elias Khoury (1930–2008), who taught architecture at AUB from 1964 to 1985, died on October 8. A graduate of the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, Khoury, described as the “Corbusier of Lebanon,” was noted for such works as the municipal stadium of Jounieh, the Collège des Frères Mont La Salle (with G. Khouri, G. Serof, and R. T. Verney), the Jureidini Building in Spears, the bathing complex at al Manar, Tilal and San Antonio in Faraya, the 1977 Master Plan for the reconstruction of Downtown Beirut (with P. E. Khoury, and A. Raad), and many buildings outside Lebanon, especially in the United States. Known as carpenter, scientist, poet, artist, and architect, Khoury also established his own furniture industry at Interdesign, which produced functional objects from lamps to chairs. Khoury is survived by his wife, Madeleine, five brothers and sisters, and four children.


Mounir R. Sa’adah (BA ’30, MA ’45) passed away on July 25 at his home in the Harvest Hill Retirement Community in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Born in Damascus in 1909, Sa’adah was entrusted at the age of 14 to the care of Mary and Harry Dorman (she was one of Daniel Bliss’ granddaughters; her husband, Harry Dorman, was the first dean of the Faculty of Medicine). In 1945, Sa’adah and his family immigrated to the United States where he served as teacher and pastor for more than 60 years. Sa’adah is survived by three children, two brothers, three grandchildren, four step grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and nine step great grandchildren.

Georges Shidrawi (BA ’53) passed away on July 17 at the age of 75. He was born in Hadath el Jebbeh and was living in Geneva, Switzerland, his last station as a World Health Organization staff member, at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, four children, and several grandchildren.

Leila Youssef Jabbour (BA ’54, MA ’57) poet, writer, and researcher passed away on May 29. During her long career in Lebanon, she served as head of the Specialization Section of the Department of Preparation and Training at the Civil Service Council, head of the Department of Scholarships at the Ministry of National Education, and professor of translation and Arabic at the College of Media and Documentation of the Lebanese University. She also wrote children’s educational programs that the Center of Educational Research and Development developed with the Lebanese Broadcasting Station.

Vartkess M. Balian (BArch ’57) passed away on August 3 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia. Born in Beirut in 1932, Balian moved to the United States in the mid 1970s and founded and partnered a land development and construction company, the Hyattsville-based Quad Group of America. In the 1990s he also became a partner in Haverford Homes, a home development business founded by his son. While a student at AUB he set many track and field records. He later organized athletic contests for Armenians in Lebanon and North America. Balian served as chair of the central committee of the New York-based Armenian General Benevolent Union and was a trustee of the Washington-based Armenian Assembly of America. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, two sons, two sisters, and four grandchildren.

Randa Azzam Khoury (MA ‘86). Long-time International College (IC) preschool director Randa Khoury passed away at AUBMC on September 18. Born in Haifa, Palestine in 1944, Randa Khoury received a BA in child development from the Beirut University College in 1966 and an MA in elementary education from AUB in 1986. She was a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Randa Khoury led the IC preschool from 1990, caring for both students and colleagues as though they were family. She was active in the school administration, heading the school’s Financial Committee, running teacher training workshops, and serving on the Accreditation Committee. She also worked as an education consultant with the United Nations, coauthored a three-volume book on the Arabic alphabet and a handbook for nursery school teachers, and taught courses on early childhood education, child development, and psychology at the Lebanese American University.

In her memory, the International College has established the Randa A. Khoury Innovation in Teaching Fund to support teacher development programs and professional development.

She is survived by her husband Ibrahim (BA ’74) and their three daughters, Amal Khouri (BA ’96, MA ’99), Ruba Abiad (BA ’97, MMB ’01), and Hala Khoury (BA ’02, MA ’07).

Our Legacy

In 1966, Juanita Reidell left southern California for Beirut, and wandered into the office of History Department Chair Constantine Zurayk on her first day at AUB. With his encouragement she studied the Middle East, but it was Zurayk’s administrative assistant, Samia Ghobril, who taught her to love Lebanon. “She introduced me to the wonderful people and culture of Beirut. We corresponded and remained friends until her death. I was truly impressed by the earnestness and scholarly attitude of the young women I met in classes. It is with these many fond memories that I establish this scholarship fund in (Samia’s) memory,” wrote Juanita in 2002. And by naming AUB in her estate before she passed away, Juanita Reidell ensured that the scholarship established in her friend’s memory will help needy women students at AUB in perpetuity.

Juanita T. Reidell
Founder of the Samia Ghobril Endowed Scholarship at AUB

Many alumni and friends choose to remember loved ones, or honor their association with AUB by making a legacy gift. Giving makes a difference. Contact to learn more.