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 Passages: Commencement 2003
 Honorary Degrees Return to AUB
 The Flourishing Cultural Life of AUB
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Alumni Activities Worldwide!

Engineering and Architecture Chapter

Over one hundred 1960 to 1966 graduates of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (FEA) gathered on July 30 for a reunion at Al-Sheikh Hotel in Bhamdoun. The dinner was hosted by Albert Matta (BE ’62), the hotel’s owner.
Matta, greeting his guests warmly, read a special poem in Arabic that he had written especially for the occasion. Chapter President Samir Alamuddin, in welcoming the alumni, urged them all to stay in contact with the University and the chapter. FEA Dean Ibrahim N. Hajj thanked Matta for hosting the event and extended congratulations to Albert Kuraan for being awarded the National Order of Merit, Chevalier Rank, by French President Jacques Chirac. Dean Hajj, in noting that the number of FEA students has more than doubled since his days as a student, said that at present half of the faculty’s undergraduate students are in electrical and computer engineering and that almost 30 percent of all FEA students are women. All agreed that the evening was memorable in every way.

Medical Alumni Chapter

The Medical Alumni Chapter held a grand dinner in honor of the University’s ’03 MD graduates on June 23 at the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel, which was attended by almost 350 AUB alumni, friends, and faculty members. Among the guests of honor were Lebanese Minister of State Karam Karam (MD ’67); President of the Order of Physicians Mahmoud Choucair; Nadim Cortas, vice president for Medical Affairs and dean of the Faculty of Medicine and the Medical Center; and AUBMC Director John Rhoder.

In welcoming and congratulating the new doctors, Chapter President Khalid Yunis informed them that, on the occasion, they would receive the traditional Medical Alumni pin and a complimentary year’s membership in the chapter. He then introduced one of the new graduates, Dr. Melhem Solh, who spoke on behalf of the class, expressing their appreciation for all the support they had received from AUB, and from their families, in the attainment of their degrees. In the address that followed, Dr. Cortas extended his best wishes to the young men and women of medicine and also paid tribute to the two members of the Department of Internal Medicine who had been chosen to receive the Medical Alumni Chapter’s awards for 2003. He then joined President Yunis in presenting the Gold Medal Award to Dr. Ibrahim Salti, head of the Endocrinology Division, and the Merit Award to Dr. Adel Birbari, head of the Nephrology Division.
To provide entertainment for the evening, a number of the new doctors displayed their “non-medical” thespian talents with comic sketches inspired by some of their former teachers and a "danse de salon performance,” followed by a brilliant piano recital of classical music.

Middle East
Abu Dhabi Branch
On May 15 the AUB Alumni Association of Abu Dhabi celebrated its annual Gala Dinner at the Abu Dhabi Intercontinental Hotel, drawing 300 loyal AUB alumni and friends. The guest of honor and keynote speaker this year was Lebanon’s Minister of State Health Karam Karam.
In welcoming the large gathering of alumni, the branch’s president, Mohamad Sleiman, thanked them for their continuous dedicated support and informed them that their loyalty had helped the Abu Dhabi Branch raise over $2 million for AUB since 1985.
The gala paid special tribute to the Archives and Special Collections of Jafet Memorial Library, the treasure of AUB. Mr. Sleiman, in pointing out that the archives are indeed the memory of the University and the region, noted that “appreciation of the past is a prerequisite for the future development of any society.” He thanked Asma Fathallah, director of the Archives and Special Collections, for her excellent work and dedication.
Dr. Karam spoke with poetic elegance about AUB and its leading role in education and development in the Middle East. He then went on to focus on the important topic of ethics and education in the political domain.
The Abu Dhabi Alumni Association organized a number of activities for Dr. Karam and the AUB delegation, among them a meeting with Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of education; a lunch with Lebanese Ambassador Hasan Berro; and a day at the Lebanese Spring Festival that was held at the Abu Dhabi Officers Club. The festival was organized by the Lebanese Business Council, whose executive board includes three AUB alumni: President Albert Matta, Treasurer Ramzi Keily, and Head of Memberships Sufian Al-Saleh.

Syrian Branch
On December 8, 2002, the AUB alumni in Syria held their annual fund-raising gala dinner in the presence of some 250 alumni and friends in Al-Chark Club (club d’Orient) in Damascus, Syria. AUB President John Waterbury attended to update alumni on the University. Guests entered a lively AUB scene where a video on the University was being shown, drinks were being offered, and a band from the High Institute of Music was playing music in the lobby.
During the program Syrian branch members Nada Al Assaad and Abdel Aziz Dahdouch introduced the speakers. Abdul Salam Haikal welcomed the guests and noted that this was the second fundraising activity in two years for scholarship support for the endowed fund for Syrian students enrolled at AUB. The second speaker, Joseph Abdallah, confirmed the loyalty of our graduates towards their alma mater while Dr. Abdul Sattar Udday spoke warmly about his memories of AUB and its role in servicing the region. Dr. Waterbury concluded by discussing the Campus Master Plan and current projects at AUB.

Dubai and Northern Emirates Branch

Dubai alumni have manifested what loyalty and hard work can produce: a generous donation of $300,000 in a single year – the largest gift from a branch or chapter to AUB. They topped the record they set themselves last year by more than $100,000.
Branch President Najar Zaarour and Vice President Yasser El-Hajj presented the donation to AUB President John Waterbury in his office at College Hall. Accepting the check, he noted that the University applauds the efforts of Dubai and Northern Emirates alumni and friends in providing scholarship aid for needy and qualified students. The branch decided to dedicate $200,000 to the Dubai and Northern Emirates Endowment Scholarship to leverage their gift even further with the one-to-four match that the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation has established at AUB. Over the last five years, donations from the branch have totaled over $1 million.
A fabulous evening was had by all at the Dubai and Northern Emirates Branch’s Annual Fundraising Ball in May. The theme of the evening was, You Can Make a Difference, in the hope of inspiring alumni to make a lasting difference in the lives of needy and deserving students, thereby changing the landscape of Lebanon and the region. AUB President John Waterbury took center stage and shared news of AUB during the program, which included a special address by Mrs. Nidal Al Achkar. The ball was a great success for the branch – and built on earlier events and activities of the 2002-03 year, including a well-attended Ramadaniyat function, a successful desert trip, a cultural evening, and an exciting tennis tournament.

North America
AANA’s New Board of Directors
The results are in. Elections for the 2003-04 board of directors of the Alumni Association of North America, which were held in June, voted in the following new AANA team: Ara Tekian, who was reelected president; May Rihani, vice president; Lina Jazi, secretary; Wael Chehab, treasurer; and members-at-large Roula Tohme Baddoura, Diala Ezzedinne, John Makhoul, Bassam Zarkout, Rana Hajjeh, Alexander Geha, and Najwa Mirhij Shammas. Congratulations to all! Thanks go out to departing members Angie Bahuth, Ghaleb Daouk, and Hikmat Nasr for their service and commitment to AANA.

Atlanta Chapter

Over 70 alumni and friends gathered for a special Mother's Day brunch on May 11 at the Byblos Lebanese restaurant. Combining a tribute to mothers with a remembrance of AUB turned the occasion into a most delectable feast of memories.
In spring 2003, the chapter elected a new slate of officers: Leila Tarazi, president; Sandra Haddad, vice president; Samia Hazim, secretary; Hounada Fakhoury, treasurer; and Sahar Attar, Lara Harik, and Iman Bitar as members-at-large. Congratulations to all.

Arizona Chapter
AUB New York Office Associate Director of Development – Alumni Affairs Miyada Musharbash visited Arizona alumni at a dinner hosted by Farid Haddad at his beautiful home in May. A meeting for Southwest alumni is planned for winter.

Cleveland Chapter
In June 2003 the chapter held a festive dinner for 20 alumni and friends at Trattoria's, an Italian restaurant in Little Italy. Earlier chapter events during the 2002-03 year included an October picnic and a February dinner party.

Endocrine Chapter

The Endocrine Chapter’s annual meeting took place in June, when a group of about 20 AUB alumni gathered for an enjoyable yearly dinner. The chapter hopes that all those who missed it this year will be able to attend in 2004. At the meeting, Armand Krikorian was elected the new president of the chapter. Congratulations to him—and many thanks to outgoing president Mona Nasrallah for all her great efforts.

Greater Baltimore Chapter
The Greater Baltimore Chapter held their annual picnic in conjunction with the Washington Chapter on June 15, Father’s Day. The picnic was well attended and enjoyed by all. The chapter’s next event—a banquet to be held in Baltimore's Inner Harbor on September 27—will focus on raising funds for AUB. Details to follow in the next issue of MainGate.

Greater Washington DC Chapter
In July, the Washington Chapter launched its first newsletter, designed to keep in touch with members and push forward its fundraising goals. Former Chapter President Hikmat Nasr, in noting that his term in office is ending, expressed confidence that the new leadership will take up the reins in expanding the contents and audience of the newsletter. The chapter’s new executive committee is composed of Michael Malouf, president; Cathy Feghali, vice president; Tala Khartabil, secretary; Mandana Fawzi Al-Hajj, treasurer; and members-at-large Sami Assir, Grace Bishara, and Ramzi Dagher. The new committee is in the process of organizing events for the year. DC area alumni interested in getting involved in the chapter’s activities can contact Michael Malouf at
Meanwhile, DC alumni enjoyed outings organized by the chapter this past summer, such as the Tennis Social in May and the Baltimore- Washington Annual Picnic in June.


Montreal Chapter
Elections have been held for the newly relaunched Montreal Chapter. The new committee members are: Donald Edde, president; Mona Ghazzaoui, vice president; Almaz Aladas, secretary; and Costa Levantian, treasurer. The committee seeks the active participation of all area alumni. Anyone interested in joining the chapter or needing information should call 514-707-1793, or visit the Montreal Chapter website at
The chapter kicked of its 2003–04 season with a brunch at the lovely Chateau Vaudreuil on September 14. Look for details of future activities in the next issue of MainGate.

New England Chapter

On Sunday, July 20, New England alumni and friends gathered for a summer picnic jointly sponsored by the chapter and several area organizations. Word-of-mouth reports indicate that a good time was had by all.

New York Metropolitan Chapter
AUB Trustee Ann Kerr shared with New York alumni and friends her recollections and reflections on her life in Beirut and travels throughout the region at a lecture and signing for her new book, Painting the Middle East (Syracuse University Press: 2002) on June 18. At a jointly sponsored program with the City University of New York’s Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMAC), Kerr discussed her thoughts on the current political situation in the region as well as the prospects for the future to a crowd of 70 alumni, friends, and New York area academics and persons with interest in the Middle East. New York Metropolitan Chapter President Wael Chehab and MEMAC Associate Director and alumnus Anny Bakalian greeted guests and introduced Kerr. A book signing followed with a lovely reception full of Middle Eastern treats.

Northern California Chapter

In early May, Miyada Musharbash and Jaime-Faye Bean, associate directors of development of the AUB New York office, visited with members of the Northern California Chapter. While in the Bay area, Miyada and Jaime updated alumni on new developments at AUB, especially with regard to the efforts being undertaken to expand and strengthen the University’s communication with its alumni. They also reported on the various fundraising activities being launched by AUB alumni chapters elsewhere.

The Northern California Chapter held its annual summer picnic on June 1 in Cuesta Park in the South Bay area. About 50 AUB alumni and friends joined in the fun, graced by the blessings of great food, great friends, and great weather. A highlight of the afternoon was the chapter’s first tennis tournament. Seven teams competed in the doubles match, which ended with the winning medals being presented to Wael Tayara and Khaled Delaware.
For news and information about past or future events, please check the chapter’s website

Ottawa Chapter
The AANA Ottawa Chapter’s annual summer picnic was held on June 15 in Britannia Park, situated along the beautiful Ottawa River. The event, intentionally planned to coincide with Father’s Day, was well attended by chapter members and friends of AUB. Many of them had taken time from their usual Father’s Day activities to pass by the picnic and spend a few hours with friends and family. All fathers were greeted with a warm welcome and a white carnation. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and watermelon made up the menu for the day—in addition to Elie Mousalli’s special salmon burgers. Well before sunset, the chapter took its annual picnic photos to record the fun-filled day.
P.S.: An official welcome aboard and best wishes to Elie Mousalli (BS ‘69; MS ‘72) as secretary of the Ottawa Chapter’s executive committee.

Southern California Chapter
Alumni and friends in the Los Angeles area gathered on March 23 for a gracious luncheon with AUB Provost Peter Heath and Vice President for Development and External Relations W. Stephen Jeffrey. In reporting on the latest news from campus, the two high-level AUB officials reassured the group that despite the continuing political turmoil in the Middle East region, the University was “on track” in pursuing its strategic planning goals.
In May AUB’s Associate Directors of Development Miyada Musharbash and Jaime Faye-Bean visited with members of the Southern California Chapter. Among the issues discussed were university activities and the new chapter elections that are in progress. If any Southern California alumni are interested in volunteering for activities, please email

Western Virginia Chapter

The Western Virginia Chapter organized a dinner for the area’s AUBites, which was held in May at the elegant Harbor Club in downtown Norfolk. Against the backdrop of the club’s stunning views of the city, everyone enjoyed catching up with each other over cocktails and during the sumptuous dinner that followed. AUB’s Associate Director of Development–Major Gifts Rima Zaitoon, in reporting to the gathered guests on developments at AUB, expressed the University’s appreciation for their continued support. In his welcoming address, President Bassam Kawwas thanked Judge Peter Decker, the keynote speaker, for his support of the chapter’s activities. Judge Decker, in turn, praised the efforts of the chapter in supporting such a great institution as AUB. Saying “it is one of the oldest and most successful educational institutions in the world,” he urged the attendees to respond to the president’s appeal. Nearly $5,000 was raised at the dinner—an admirable gesture of support made by alumni and friends on behalf of the University.


Coming Home

Alumni from around the world relive good times at the third annual AUB Reunions jamboree. Jaime-Faye Bean describes it all.

AUBites from around the world gathered on campus from June 25 to 29 to join in communal reunion celebrations for the classes of 1983, 1988, 1993, and 1998. Hundreds of alumni, many of them accompanied by their spouses and children, showed up for the festivities, making this year’s Reunions the best-attended since the tradition was reestablished in June 2001.
The activities began Thursday evening, when President John Waterbury held an open forum to provide the visiting alumni with information on the University’s $150-million 20-year Campus Master Plan that is now under way. Speaking to the standing-room-only crowd gathered in West Hall’s new Suhail R. Bathish Auditorium, the president accompanied his presentation with “virtual photographs” of the major structures slated for construction under the plan—such as the Charles W. Hostler Student Center and the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business—and said that the plan also provides for the addition of three new student dorms, as well as the renovation of a number of AUB’s existing buildings. President Waterbury assured the audience, however, that the unique beauty of the University’s campus would be preserved, promising that the breathtaking open views of the Mediterranean from the romantic pathways and benches lining upper campus would continue to “form the basis of many future marriages.” Members of the audience were then given the opportunity to query the president on a number of AUB-related issues, from the proper handling of building funds and equitable allocation of contracts to the number of tennis courts that would be available for alumni use under the master plan. The evening ended with a dinner held on the lawn of the president’s residence, Marquand House.
Friday evening, the alumni group gathered at the spectacular Grand Hills Village in Brumana for a dinner dance affair. In an Arabic restaurant elaborately decorated with colorful mosaics and bubbling
fountains, everyone spent a pleasurable “thousand-and-one-nights” interlude enjoying the dozens of delectable dishes that make up the traditional Lebanese mezzeh. Some even indulged in smoking the nargileh (filled, of course, with honey-scented tobacco). Moving from table to table to say hello, AUB Provost Peter Heath and members of the Reunions Ad Hoc Committee recognized many of the alumni. In the words of one who was greeted by name, “I didn’t expect to be remembered…it was wonderful!” After dinner, a superb belly dancer entertained the crowd (with a few of the most outgoing AUBites joining in to test their own hip-undulating skills!), and later everyone hit the dance floor themselves to swing or waltz to the tunes of a live band. The evening ended on a truly sweet note: a huge cake in the shape and colors of the AUB logo to be shared by all.
On Saturday, while some of the alumni spent the day recuperating from Friday night’s festivities, many of them took advantage of the special rates AUB had secured from local travel agencies to visit one of the many tourist sites in Lebanon. It also was a day when the alumni could truly honor the academic legacy of AUB; reunion attendees were invited to meet with student representatives for breakfast at West Hall, and later they could attend the honorary degrees and commencement ceremonies if they wished.
On Sunday, the final day of Reunions, the hundreds of alumni and their families went off on buses to AUB’s 274-acre farm in the Beqa’a, known as the Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC), where they joined the students and faculty in celebrating Family Day. They arrived to the melodious voice of Fairouz coming through loud and clear on the DJ’s speakers, and were welcomed with freshly baked manakeesh, Arabic coffee, and cold soft drinks. The grounds of the farm were soon filled with the boisterous activity of children (and adults) flying kites, playing football, riding bikes, and enjoying hayrides. The more sedentary types whiled away the time exploring the farm and meeting some of its resident chickens, sheep, goats, and cows.
For the third year in a row, Reunions participants have been confirming the global nature of AUB alumni, with guests attending from Los Angeles to Madrid, from Paris to Abu Dhabi. Elected officers from a number of alumni chapters were present this year, including the vice president of AANA, as well as members of the Engineering, Agriculture, Nursing, Pharmacy, Business and Medical chapters and the Mt. Lebanon, South Lebanon, Beka’a, Riyadh, and Greece branches. And in another, more tangible way, they decidedly left their mark on campus—proceeds from Reunions 2003 raised $11,626 for AUB financial aid.