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Making Way for the Future of Engineering

On March 21, AUB Chairman of the Board Richard A. Debs announced major gifts to the Campaign for Excellence from Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) and from Dr. Ray R. Irani, AUB’s vice chairman of the Board of Trustees and chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, that will fund a new on-campus engineering complex. The new facility will be named “The Ray R. Irani Oxy Engineering Complex” in honor of Dr. Irani.

Dr. Ibrahim Hajj, AUB dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, thanked Dr. Irani and Oxy saying, “These generous gifts are especially timely, as we have been restructuring our curricula, introducing new programs, and adding more design and laboratory courses.”
The new facility will support the expansion of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture by accommodating the specialized needs of class and research labs, classrooms, and faculty offices in a more efficient and high tech setting. The present engineering laboratories will be upgraded to meet the rapid technological advances and demands in the field, as well as the growing number of engineering students.

In commenting on the gifts, Dr. Irani said, “I am pleased the new complex will provide students and faculty with new facilities equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It will ensure that AUB remains the regional leader in engineering education and research.”
AUB Board Chairman Debs remarked, “Ray Irani has long been a strong supporter
of the University as well as an outstanding leader in the scientific and business communities. I cannot think of a more appropriate person to honor for these generous gifts, gifts that will greatly enhance the educational resources of AUB.”

Dr. Irani, who received a BS in chemistry from AUB in 1953 and a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Southern California, has been chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corporation since 1990. He held the additional post of president from 1990 to 1996. Dr. Irani joined the Occidental organization in June 1983 as chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Chemical Corporation, an Occidental Petroleum Corporation subsidiary.
After starting his career as a research scientist, Dr. Irani played a key role in creating and developing commercially viable products and processes at Monsanto Company and Diamond Shamrock Corporation before joining Olin’s Chemicals Group in 1973 as vice president of research and development. Dr. Irani is a director of the American Petroleum Institute, Cedars Bank, KB Home, and Lyondell Chemical Company. He is a member of numerous professional, educational, and cultural organizations and institutions, including the University of Southern California where he is a trustee.

On the Path of Excellence

Campaign Progress Report

In April, President Waterbury gave an update on AUB’s Campaign for Excellence. Since the campaign was officially launched on October 1, 2002, President Waterbury noted that to date AUB has raised $68.9 million in cash and pledges towards its goal of raising $140 million by AUB’s 140th anniversary in the 2006-07 academic year.

The Campaign for Excellence will raise funds for University-wide priorities that include $69 million to endow financial aid, professorships, and academic centers. Of this $69 million, $15 million has been earmarked for financial aid, making it the largest single item in the entire campaign. An additional $61 million will be spent on building projects, including the Charles W. Hostler Student Center, a new business school, and laboratory and classroom renovations. The rest of the funds to be raised are allocated for the annual fund that helps provide unrestricted and restricted monies used for a variety of needs, including scholarships, faculty, and the upkeep of campus.

President Waterbury acknowledged that these are not the easiest economic times during which to conduct a campaign, but is especially gratified by the interest and support that many alumni and friends have expressed for AUB and its programs.