Inside the Gate
  Views from Campus
Peter Dorman, AUB’s 15th president
Presidents of AUB
The Green Issue
Saving the Cedars: The Tannourine Project
It’s War on the Environment
IGESP: Finding Solutions for the Earth’s Problems
Is AUB Green?
Alumni Profile
Maingate Connections
Alumni Happenings
Class Notes
AUB Reflections
In Memoriam
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors
Presidents of AUB
New Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service
Coming to Your Own Back Yard: Seeds of Hope
Three Words...
Nostalgia and Hope: Greater Washington Chapter Exhibition
Randa Khalil: Platinum Green LEED in British Columbia
Remembering Iliya Harik (BA '56, MA '58)
Hostler Green Initiatives
Between Bahrain and AUB

Spring 2008 Vol. VI, No. 3

Class Notes


Adnan Dakkuri
MD (BS ’62) was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his service to Ferris State University (FSU), its faculty, and community. Dakkuri joined FSU in Big Rapids, Michigan in 1976, and is currently a professor of pharmaceutics. Prior to that, he was on the AUB faculty for seven years.

Nazih Shammas
(BE ’62) lives in Massachusetts with his wife Norma, who is coordinator of children with disabilities for the State of Massachusetts. Their two sons, Sarmed (Erich) and Samer (Sam) work in Houston and Los Angeles respectively. In 2002, Shammas retired from a teaching career that included positions at the University of Michigan, AUB, King Saud University, and a deanship at the Lenox Institute of Water Technology in Massachusetts. He is currently a consultant and writes and edits books on environmental engineering. He has authored and coedited two environmental book series: Handbook of Environmental Engineering, and Handbook of Industrial and Hazardous Wastes Treatment. Shammas can be contacted at N.Shammas[at] or Nazih[at]

Walid Abu Shakra
(BE ’63), founder, chairman, and superintendent of Educational Services Overseas Limited (ESOL), was recently granted the prestigious International Schools Association (ISA) Award for Distinguished Service to International Education. This award is given to an outstanding educator who has demonstrated “the highest ideals of international education.”

Yusef K. Shalabi
(BE ’63) writes: “A few months ago I was at a luncheon at the home of a friend in Montreal, Canada. Among the 30 invitees, there were, by chance, six AUB alumni. They were Rafi Chitilian (BE ’69), Tavic Najarian (BE ’69), Jiriair Kaipelian (BE ’69), Vahe Kouyoumjian (BE ’69), and Ohannes Hagopian (BA ’67). We all immediately bonded and the conversation centered on AUB and our memories there (to the possible annoyance of the other invitees). That is proof, if any is needed, of the lasting bond that AUB instills in its alumni.” Shalabi can be contacted at Yusef.Shalabi[at]

Alexandra Parnos-Athanassiou

(BS ’64) has been a faculty member in mathematics at the University of Missouri (MU) in Columbia, Missouri for more than 30 years. She also earned her master’s degree at MU. After she retires this September, Parnos-Athanassiou hopes to visit Lebanon and AUB. She looks forward to walking along Bliss Street, having an ice cream sundae and a shawarma sandwich at the old haunts she knew 44 years ago. She can be contacted at sandi[at]

Arpine Konyalian Grenier
(BS ’65, MS ’67) is a graduate of the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College in New York. She has authored three volumes of poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. In May, Grenier read from her latest volume of poetry Part, Part Euphrates, which was

published by NeO Pepper Press, at the Poetic Ecologies Conference in Brussels.

Ias Nicolas
(BS ’67, MD ’72) is married to acclaimed artist Shamira Nicolas (www.sharimranicolas). Nicolas has been the attending orthopedic surgeon at Rochester General Hospital since 1977. He specializes in trauma and spine surgery.

Abdallah Bin Saleh Bin Jum’ah

(BA ’68), president of ARAMCO since 1995, was recently named by the Financial Times as the most influential person in the field of global energy. The newspaper notes that since his appointment as president and chief executive officer of the Saudi company Bin Jum’ah has overseen more major projects in the processing and manufacturing of natural gas than any of his competitors.

Rajai Khouri
(BA ’68): In December 2007 Khouri released his first musical album entitled “Peace in the Holy Land,” a compilation of 14 musical pieces. He is the founder of AIC Group of Consultants for Project Development and Construction, which operates in the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, and Europe, Khouri is a founding trustee of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, which raises funds for charities through music, opera, and the performing arts.

Riad al Khouri
(BA ’68). His e-mail address is ralkhouri[at]


Nikola Schahgaldian
(BA ’70) is currently a private policy analyst. He has had a wide-ranging career including stints as a visiting researcher at AUB, political scientist at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, senior political adviser to the president of Armenia, and dean of the Political Science and International Relations Department at the American University of Armenia, Yerevan. Schahgaldian has authored numerous articles, reports, and books on international politics, the Middle East, the Islamic world, and the former Soviet Union.

Joseph Evan LeBaron
(former student, Middle East Studies 1974-76) is the new US ambassador to Qatar. He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and also studied at the University of Khartoum. LeBaron began his diplomatic career in Doha in 1980 and was the US ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania 2003-06. He also has served as the US deputy chief of mission in Manama, and as US consul general in Dubai.

Farouk Fannoush

(BBA ’75) is general manager of the Meed Trading Company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He has worked extensively throughout the Middle East at Shair Management Services, Al Ghanim Industries, Pepsi Cola International, and Coca Cola. Fannoush married Iman Kozak in 1982. They have three children: a daughter, Dana, born in 1983, who now works for British American Tobacco in Dubai; and two sons, Fuad, born in 1984, currently a senior studying mechanical engineering at Concordia University; and Jamil, born in 1993, a tenth grade student at the British School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Hanna Hajjar
(BE ’75): Putting his degree in mechanical engineering to good use, Hajjar first worked in the field of HVAC (heating ventilating and air conditioning), and then specialized in IAQ (indoor air quality). He invented an indoor electronic air cleaner with disposable filters and several products that remove air contaminants, pollen, dust and dust mites, gases, bacteria, and even viruses. Not content to focus solely on improving indoor air quality, Hajjar also invented the “Stem-Nozzle” for misting outdoor air in industrial and domestic settings. He can be reached at john[at]

Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut
(BS ’76, MD ’80) professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has been named the chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis to be held in Montreal, Canada in September. The World Congress is an international forum that will bring together more than 3,500 multiple sclerosis clinicians and researchers.

What on Earth?
MainGate’s fall 2005 issue featured a story on EARTH University in Costa Rica, and we think it’s time for an update on this remarkably progressive institution, headed by AUB Trustee Jose A. Zaglul (BS ’71, MS ’73). Founded in 1990, EARTH is dedicated to education in the field of agricultural sciences, with a special emphasis on the rational use of natural and sustainable resources in the humid tropics.
There is much good news to report:
• In December, EARTH held its 15th graduation ceremony which featured 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad    Yunus as commencement speaker and 1987 Nobel Laureate Oscar Arias, the president of the Republic of Costa Rica.
• Whole Foods, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket recently formed a partnership with EARTH as part    of an ecologically and morally responsible buying program. EARTH will produce artisan bags made from banana fiber for    Allegra Coffee, a subsidiary of Whole Foods Markets, and sell bananas and pineapples to Whole Foods stores in    southeastern United States.
• In August 2007, the environmental journal Grist rated EARTH the third greenest university in the Americas.
• EARTH has made a commitment to help Costa Rica become Carbon Dioxide Emissions Neutral by 2030.
• EARTH has graduated nearly 1,200 professionals and has an international faculty of 44 professors from 20 countries.
   For more information on EARTH University, please visit


Maan Hamdan
(BE ’80) is the CEO of HRsmart, Inc., a fast-growing, award-winning global software company that he cofounded in 1994. He also cofounded Directel, a multi-national paging company that employs more than 500 professionals in Brazil and Argentina. In addition, Hamden cofounded and served as chairman of the board for CNI, an executive recruiting firm, and CareerNet, a public career board, both based in Florida. Maan is married to Rowayda Soujah of Ain Anoub, Lebanon and has four daughters: Reema, 21; Nadia, 16; Elissar, 5; and Nayla, 3. He can be reached at mhamdan[at]

Nabil Abou-Haidar
(BArch ’81) has been elected president of the AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter for 2008 and is the director of the Senior Living Studio at Orcutt/ Winslow Architects in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached at nahaidar[at]

Randa Khalil
(BE ’81). Khalil’s electrical engineering company, RFA Consulting, has just earned Canada’s first ever Platinum Green Building Rating for the energy efficient Gulf Islands Operating Center in British Columbia. This is the highest awarded rating by Canada’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design). Read more in MainGate on-line. Khalil can be contacted at randakhalil[at]

More Online

Salim Farah
(BS ’82, MS ’84) is the director of Quality Assurance and Compliance for Apotex, a Canadian-based pharmaceutical company. Farah and his wife Kiyana Javier have three children: Fares (2003), Kealani (2005), and Myles (2007). He can be contacted at salim_farah28[at]

Ziad M. Husseini
(BS ’82, MD ’86), a Penrose Award recipient, recently moved to Texas to become an associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Husseini is an active member of many medical societies, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American and the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists. He has been repeatedly elected secretary of the Lebanese Ophthalmological Society, has chaired its Scientific Committee, and has served as treasurer of the Pan Arab African Council of Ophthalmology. He specializes in modern cataract surgery and has introduced many new procedures to Lebanon. Husseini can be contacted at ZiadM. Husseini[at]

Lena Minassian
(BS ’82) After graduation, Minassian (née Roumian) worked as a research assistant for Dr. Adel Birbari in the Physiology Department at AUBMC. She moved to California in 1985 and taught science in a private high school in Hollywood for three years before accepting a position as supervisor in a research lab in the Department of Physiology at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Medicine. After 10 years, Minanssian left USC, to stay at home with her baby. She later passed the California real estate exam and works as a realtor with her husband. They jointly operate their own real estate and mortgage company, and are the parents of two boys, ages 10 and 6. Minassian can be reached at lrminassian[at]

Denise Bared
(BS ’87) writes: “AUB is more than a mere education! It's a way of thinking, a universal attitude towards life. After a successful career in Beirut in the pharmaceutical industry (Laboratoires UPSA) and the Telecom field (LibanCell), I moved to Paris to pursue a specialized master’s degree in marketing management at ESSEC Education Management, a business school with an international reputation…If you live your passion, success will be within your reach...when you finally enjoy the great feeling of accomplishment and self fulfillment.”

Camille Atrache
(BE ’88) is the chief operating officer and owner of Tri- Phase Environmental Inc., a company that provides total environmental remediation services in Canada. The company’s website is

Tarek Houalla
(BS ’88) married Jennifer Berard on September 1, 2007. Houalla received his MSc and PhD from McGill University in Montreal. The couple spent their honeymoon in Quebec City and plan to make their home in Montreal.

Samar Khoury
(BS ’88) is a doctoral candidate in environmental health at Johns Hopkins University. Khoury has worked in the environmental field doing environmental remediation for army bases, but is very interested in the benefits of an organic food diet, a public health issue which is a hot topic at Hopkins. Her e-mail address is skhoury[at]

Hraztan Zeitlian
AIA, LEED (BArch '88) was recently appointed vice president of design at Leo A. Daly's Los Angeles office. He is also the founder of STRUERE, an architectural think tank. In 2006 and 2007 Hraztan received two prestigious American Architecture Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum. L' Arca International Design Magazine dedicated a whole section of its December 2007 issue to his work. Zeitlian’s award winning entry to the Prague National Library Competition may be found on the website, or contact him at hszeitlian[at]

Laudy Naimeh
(MD ’89). After completing her residency in pediatrics at AUBMC, Naimeh moved to Iowa so that her husband could complete his medical training at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). After four years training in pediatric endocrinology, Naimeh switched specializations to allergy, asthma, and immunology. She is in private practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her husband, Khalil Saliba (MD ’87) did his residency in family practice at AUBMC and his psychiatric training at Saint George Hospital in Beirut before moving to Iowa in 1993 to continue his training in child and adolescent psychiatry at UIHC. Saliba currently works at Laureate Psychiatry Hospitals and Clinics in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Naimeh and Saliba have two children: Cindy (13) and Michael (10).

Check your car
Clean oil and properly inflated tires increase fuel mileage up to 15 percent.


Kamal El-Tayara

(BE ’93), who received his MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, has been appointed independent director of the ROO Group’s Board of Directors. ROO Group is a global service provider that assists businesses in leveraging their digital media assets and provides enhanced user experience. Since 2004, he has been a managing partner of MNA Partners, a Dubai-based merchant bank. Prior to establishing his own firm, El-Tayara was with Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney. In 2003, he managed the corporate finance initiatives of MBC Group, MENA's largest media company, where he was CFO in the set up of the al Arabiya News Channel. El-Tayara also helped establish the Swiss EFG Bank in Dubai.

Ayman Al Harakeh
(BS ’94) married Nadine Zantout (BA ’01, MA ’03) at Biel in Beirut on December 22, 2007. Al Harakeh completed his residency in general surgery at AUBMC in 2006 and is currently completing a two-year fellowship in transplant surgery at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Zantout has been an economics instructor at AUB since 2004. In addition, for the past two years she has worked at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers as UNDP staff on the National Accounts Project. Dr. and Mrs. Harakeh celebrated their recent wedding with family members and many friends from the departments of Economics and General Surgery.

Samer Harb
(BS ’95, MS ’97) recently married Mona Osta and moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he is operations manager for the Nutrition and Diet Center. He can be reached at mrsam66[at]

Bilal Kaaki
(BS ’96, MD ’00). On August 17, 2007 Dr. Kaaki married Mirna Faysal (BA ’02) at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California. The couple moved to Waterloo, Iowa, where Kaaki will be chief OB/GYN at Allen Memorial Hospital. He can be reached at bilalkaa[at]

Ziad Moussa
Before there was the ABC Achrafieh, there was a bunker. Ziad Moussa (BS '92, MS '96) used that spot to turn a military bunker/artillery depot into an unlikely nursery for ornamental plants as part of the AGHRAS project in 1994. “Recycled” militia members—some of them having served in that very bunker— were recruited to take care of flowers after caring for artillery guns throughout the Lebanese civil war. It was just one of the “all things environment and sustainable development” projects he got involved in after he graduated from AUB. He played an active role in the leadership of Green Line, a Beirut environmental NGO, from 1992–2005, then moved into development consulting. In December 2001, he went to Djibouti to train secondary school teachers on how to establish school gardens. In 2003, Moussa and four of his AUB Environmental and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) colleagues became Certified Trainers in Development Management a prestigious program with Capacity Building International, Germany (InWEnt). Since then he has worked in more than 35 countries on five continents as a trainer, facilitator and development management specialist. This year, he is leading a segment of the World Water Week in Sweden and the World Urban Forum in China after having helped researchers from eight African countries develop projects on Water, Health and Climate Change. His latest endeavor is DMI (Development Management International, s.a.r.l—, that he is working on with Fares El Zein (BA ’96, MA ’99). Contact Moussa at

Sawsan Z. Yamout
(BS ’97). Last August Yamout began her surgical residency in the Equine Surgery Program at the University of California, Davis. This threeyear residency will lead to an American Board certification in large animal surgery. After earning her doctorate with honors (DVM) in veterinary sciences from the University of Szent Istvan, Budapest, Hungary in 2002, she pursued her studies in veterinary sciences at the University of Liège, Belgium and the University of Guelph, Ontario. Yamout can be contacted at syamout[at]

Maha Tannir
(BA ’97) and her husband Ibrahim Hout have a new baby girl, Tatiana. The happy couple has three other children: Issam (6), Celine (4), and Stephanie (2). Maha works in the Human Resources Division of BankMed, Lebanon and her husband is an architect with his own construction and contracting business.

Ahmad Himmo
(BBA, ’98) has moved to PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto, Canada. He is married to Tala Nehad and is the father of Mohammad and Janette. Himmo has an account on Facebook and can be contacted at ahmadhimmo[at]

Raed Omar Sbeit
(BE ’98). For the last seven years Sbeit has worked as a software engineer at Verizon Communications. He is a doctoral degree candidate in engineering management at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he earned a master’s degree in software engineering. He is active in the Islamic Center of Irving, Texas, the Muslim American Society (MAS) in Dallas, and the MAS Youth Project in North Texas. He and his wife Sara Khayat are the proud parents of Heba Raed Sbeit (3) and Huda Raed Sbeit (4 months).

Ghina Yamout
(BS ’99, MS '02) received a PhD from the University of Florida in 2005. She spent two years working for Parsons on projects in Florida and Arizona including the largest wetland restoration project in the world in the Florida everglades. She is now a water resources specialist for the city of Mesa in Arizona, where she is managing freshwater resources to ensure that the city has sustainable water resources to satisfy its current and future needs. Yamout is also chair of a Middle East and North Africa Committee that the Environmental and Water Resources Institute established to identify and support collaborative efforts between the institute's water community and the countries of the MENA region.

Kim Ghattas (BA ’99)
who has been a BBC journalist since 2000, is leaving Beirut, “the city that made me a journalist.” Using Beirut as her base, Ghattas covered major events in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia for many years, including the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, and the July 2006 war. She began working as a freelance journalist while still at AUB, writing for the Lebanese Daily Star; IPS news agency; the LA Times; the Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine,; the Boston Globe, and the Dutch daily, de Volkskrant. She is moving to the United States, where she will continue to work with the BBC and be a regular contributor to the Financial Times.

Rani R. Raad
(attended in the early 1990s) has been promoted to CNN senior vice president for Continental and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He will be based between the news network's regional headquarters in London and the Paris office.


Mohammad Al-Zein
(BS ’00, MS ’03), who is working on a PhD in ecological sciences, is doing fieldwork in Lebanon and southwest Asia. He studies plants and has a special interest in bellflowers, which are ornamental plants thought to have evolved in the Mediterranean area. Al-Zein has coauthored a textbook on the environment and has taught environmental courses. He can be reached at malzein[at]

Mazen Elfakhani
(attended in 2005) writes: “It's wonderful being able to connect with the AUB alumni. I am currently in my senior undergraduate year at the University of Texas at Austin, in the Department of Sociology. When I graduate in December 2008, I plan either to pursue a PhD in sociology or international relations, or to look into law school. I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to give back to Lebanon and AUB all the good it has given me.” Elfakhani can be contacted at mazen[at]

Georges Sassine
(BS ’06) is pursuing his master’s in public policy (expected June ’09) at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is president of the student Entrepreneurship Club and president of the student branch of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In 2006 Sassine was an energy policy and foreign policy research intern at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and was awarded the Shell Global Business Challenge Award. Sassine may be contacted at georges_sassine[at]

Darine Salam
(MS '06) is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio where she is researching how the mixing regime of water (whether the water body is stagnant or non-mixed, moderately mixed, or completely mixed) affects oxygen depletion and toxicity in water that has been impacted by a vegetable oil spill. Salam explains that in the United States, the regulations that govern the cleanup of oil spills also apply to animal fats and vegetable oil. As the use of vegetable oil increases, so too has the risk of accidental oil spills associated with its transport, storage, handling, and processing. Although she may stay in the United States after completing her PhD to get additional training and broaden her knowledge and experience, Salam's goal is to return to Lebanon and contribute in some way to the development and reform of her country.

Mazen Halawi
(BBA ’07) has been promoted to corporate sales manager of the multinational company Ayna Corporation. He can be reached at mazen[at]

Amer Jwehan
(BE ’07) is a researcher at Barcelona Supercomputing Center and a PhD student at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.

Fadi Shayya
(MUD ‘07) has been working with UN-ESCWA (United Nations Economic and Social Division for Western Asia) since August 2007 as an associate human settlements officer (a UN professional staff post) on issues concerning urban governance, urbanization, millennium development goals, and slums. Shayya prepared a presentation for the Expert Group Meeting in Kuwait in December 2007 on the importance of integrating the urban poor within the governance of cities in the Arab region to solve the slum issue. Shayya is planning on leaving UN-ESCWA to return to urban design and architecture before pursuing postgraduate study in the near future.

Mohammad Diaa
(MPH '05). Congratulations to Dr. Diaa on his January 2008 wedding in Sudan!

Recently Honored

Samih Darwazah
(BS ’54), founder and chairman of Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC, Jordan was named the 2007 Ernst and Young Middle East Entrepreneur of the Year at a gala ceremony at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai on February 23. Before establishing Hikma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in 1977, Darwazah worked for Eli Lilly for 12 years (1964- 76). Between 1995 and 1996 he was minister of energy and mineral resources in Jordan. Darwazah founded the Jordan Trade Association and was a member of the Advisory Economic Council of His Majesty the King of Jordan.

Rafik Taleb Hubayter
(MD ’55) and Fayez Jad Suidan (MD ’55) were honored on Lebanese Doctor Day (December 22) for 50 years of medical service in an event organized by the Lebanese Order of Physicians. Hubayter, who joined the Lebanese Order of Physicians in 1957, is a professor at AUBMC in pulmonary and critical care medicine. Suidan is a professor at AUBMC in obstetrics and gynecology and has also been a member of the Lebanese Order of Physicians since 1957.

Nabil Kronfol
(BS ’65, MD ’69) was awarded the World Health Organization’s Shousha Award for 2007 for his significant contribution to public health in Lebanon and the Eastern Mediterranean region. The award was presented to him by Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO and Dr. Hussein Gezairy, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Marwan Simaan
(BS ’68): The University of Central Florida has appointed Marwan Simaan distinguished professor and chair of its Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. In 2000 Simaan was elected to the highly prestigious National Academy of Engineering. His recent research includes studies ranging from the development of mechanical devices to assist the heart in pumping blood for patients waiting for transplants to the optimization of unmanned military vehicles. Simaan has been recognized for his work developing signal processing techniques for imaging the earth’s subsurface zone.

Abbas Afif Chamsuddin
(BS ’87, MD ’91). In 2007 Chamsuddin was named for a second time the top radiologist in the United States by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. He is an associate professor and chief of interventional radiology at Emory Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has been practicing since 2004. He is especially interested in treatments of portal hypertension; liver, head, and neck cancer; laser treatment of lower extremity venous insufficiency; and percutaneous therapy of uterine fibroids.

Why recycle?
Plastics take up to 450 years to break down in a landfill.

In central Appalachia, Professor John G. Shiber (BS ’58, MS ’61) is making environmental stewardship a new priority in an old coal mining region.

I have been a professor in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System for some years now, teaching biological sciences in a region that is noted for its once booming coal mining industry.

As I was acclimatizing to my new surroundings, I noticed that little academic attention was being paid to issues of environmental concern at the college. So, I proposed offering environmental courses with a focus on community service. The idea met with some skepticism, but I was indulged and finally permitted to introduce three environmental courses: Introductory Environmental Science, Introductory Conservation Biology, and Human Ecology. They had low enrollment at first but eventually caught on.

Human Ecology has been the most successful course because it deals with environmental issues that students in all disciplines address in their everyday lives. There are now three professors teaching four sections, plus one on-line, with a total enrollment of about 150-200 students per semester. That is a substantial number for a college this size.

Now all students—not just those majoring in the sciences and education—are encouraged to take the human ecology course. Hence, an increasing number of people in our region are becoming active stewards of their environment and eagerly passing on what they learn to family members and friends.

Science majors, especially those who aspire to environmentally-oriented careers, take the more advanced introductory courses and frequently present papers under my sponsorship at annual meetings of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences (KAS). Some have even won awards from KAS for exceptional undergraduate research projects. Among the more popular student topics are river water quality, illegal dumping (a common occurrence in this area), and regional industrial pollution.

Nearly all of my students participate in park and community cleanups throughout the region, as both a community service activity and a learning experience. Each spring two state parks invite us to help collect trash from their premises. They are fortunate because I usually have such a large group participating that my students manage to collect several tons at each location— not just litter, but car parts, couches, appliances, bed springs . . . you name it! We have a great record of participation, in rain or sunshine, and have earned respect and gratitude from activity coordinators.

Perhaps just as importantly, I have been able to do some significant preliminary research with the help of students and community members on the occurrence of certain toxic elements, such as lead and arsenic in tap water. We recently conducted a regional investigation of arsenic in household water emanating from private wells, which are abundant in eastern Kentucky and the rest of Central Appalachia, and published the results in the Dutch journal Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. This work has also led to my collaboration with public health researchers at the University of Kentucky concerning the implications of water arsenic on the health of Kentuckians.

After graduating from AUB, Shiber taught at the University of Houston, where he did advanced study in marine biology. He received a PhD in biology and science education from Purdue University. He and his wife Elaine, who has played an important role in all his professional endeavors, have two children: Linda-Dalal, who is a third year medical student at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and Tony-Saba, an architect who recently graduated from the University of Kentucky School of Architecture.
Professor Shiber can be contacted at John.Shiber[at]