Inside the Gate
  Views from Campus
An Energizing Enterprise
Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center: Deep Roots, Endless Skies
A New Era of Medical Research at AUB
A Healthier Health Care System
Rx for Success
In Our History
Alumni Profile
Maingate Connections
Alumni Happenings
Class Notes
AUB Reflections
In Memoriam
WAAAUB Election Results
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors
Campaign Update
Waterbury Promotes Role of American Universities in Mid-East
Intel-sponsored telemedicine project launched between AUBMC and Nabatiyeh
Olayan School of Business launches its Strategic Leadership Executive Program
Elected to the AAP: Dr. Fuad Ziyadeh
Alumni Profiles: A Century of Changing Lives
"AUB in 1948" - excerpts of President Stephen B. L. Penrose Jr.'s article for the Whitman Alumnus magazine

Summer 2007 Vol. V, No. 4

Inside the Gate

Views from Campus

138th Commencement Exercises: Lebanon’s Recovery Lies in Its New Graduates

AUB held its 138th commencement exercises on June 30 at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure (BIEL) Center, graduating 1,499 students from six faculties. The ceremony featured speeches by President John Waterbury, AUB Trustee and former Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and University Student Faculty Committee (USFC) Vice President Lama Andari.

After asking everyone to join him in a moment of silence for those who have had “their lives snatched away,” President Waterbury went on to urge students to use the experience and knowledge they had acquired at AUB to make remarkable changes in the country and the region—and not to lose hope.

“A year ago, in this very place, the world looked somewhat different. I cannot say that optimism was the order of the day, but a sense of possibility did prevail. A few weeks after Commencement, the July War broke out. Physical destruction, the loss of human life, political stalemate, and economic stagnation followed… But do not lose hope. The accomplishments of our speaker today will tell you and all of us why not to lose hope,” said President Waterbury.

Trustee Najib Mikati, who gave the keynote address, expressed his high hopes in AUB’s graduates whose university education will help resolve national conflicts. “Education is a strong dream, our courage an incentive to turn this dream into a reality. So let’s dream of a country united in its rich diversity, stable in solid productivity, prosperous with the entrepreneurial spirit and work opportunities and fair play. Let’s work towards this goal, solid of will and action… Lebanon is the country of pluralism, with the rich diversity of religion, culture, and thought. At the heart of all dreams, a tangible reality, the epicenter. The ambitious country worthy of sacrifice, worthy of your belonging to him, once you dispel extremism and fanaticism,” said Trustee Mikati.

In her speech, Lama Andari also spoke of what she and her fellow students might be able to do. “With our degrees, not our guns, we will in years to come together wipe the tears, working hard to alleviate the fears. From the ashes of these turbulent times, like the phoenix, once again we will with Lebanon rise.”

Honorary Degree Ceremony 2007

AUB conferred three Doctor of Humane Letters degrees on the occasion of the University’s 138th Commencement on June 30. The recipients this year were Syrian-Lebanese poet Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said), Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine, who was unable to attend because of illness, and Middle Eastern historian André Raymond. Former Ambassador Charles Hostler was awarded an honorary doctorate when he visited AUB in May to dedicate the Charles Hostler Student Center.
President John Waterbury opened the ceremony with a salute to “the brave victims” of the recent conflict in Lebanon.

After thanking all the attendees for coming to the ceremony in “such troubled times,” Waterbury praised the role of the university by saying: “Today, through these three great men, these three great creators, we celebrate the true language of the university, the language, scholarly and artistic, of the constant striving of humans to understand one another, and to construct an environment in which diversity can enrich our lives rather than destroy them.”

Adonis is known not only as an innovative poet, the forerunner of poetic modernism in the Arab world, but also as a literary critic, essayist, editor of anthologies, and a translator. Born and raised in Syria, the poet assumed the name Adonis at age 17. He became a Lebanese citizen in 1961 and currently lives in Paris. The author of many books of poetry, several of which have been translated into English, Adonis has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in literature.

Youssef Chahine, who has been active in the Egyptian film industry since 1950, began his prodigious career that year with Baba Amin. Only one year later he was invited to show Nile Boy at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1997, at the 50th anniversary of the festival he was granted Cannes’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the director of more than 40 films.

Professor Emeritus (University of Provence) André Raymond has been described as “the premier social historian of the Arab world.” His innovative methodology brought enormous change in the way the history of Arab cities has been interpreted. Following his major work, Artisans et commerçants du Caire au XVIIIe siècle, first published in 1973, he continued to write books and scholarly articles on Arab cities, which have enormously influenced historians of the Middle East for the past four decades.

University News

Inauguration of the Charles W. Hostler Student Center

AUB faculty, board members, and students gathered on May 3 for the inauguration of the Charles W. Hostler Student Center and the ceremony to award Ambassador Charles W. Hostler (MA ‘55), former US ambassador to Bahrain, an honorary doctoral degree. The construction of the center, which will become fully operational in fall 2007, was made possible by Hostler’s $11.7 million gift. An environmentally-friendly building, the Hostler Center will include a 300-seat auditorium, a basketball court with spectator seating, two squash courts, a swimming pool, activity rooms, showers, and changing areas.

AUB Launches Eight PhD Programs in 2007

In fall 2007, AUB will launch eight PhD programs in Arab and Middle Eastern history, Arabic language and literature, cell and molecular biology, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, environmental and water resources engineering, mechanical engineering, and theoretical physics. AUB froze PhD programs after the start of the civil war in 1975.

The eight programs, which have been reviewed by the New York State Education Department, “will create an environment of creativity and scientific inquiry,” says Provost Heath. President Waterbury describes the reintroduction of PhD programs at AUB “as a giant step toward AUB’s aspiration to be a research ‘power house’ in this region.”

Promoting American Universities in the Middle East

President John Waterbury participated in a tour in late March to promote American universities in the Middle East with President David Arnold (American University in Cairo), President Joseph Jabbra (Lebanese American University), and Chancellor Winfred Thompson (American University of Sharjah). During their visits to Washington, DC and New York, the four leaders met with senior officials from the State Department and US Agency for International Development, members of the Council on Foreign Relations, representatives from the media, and the Arab Bankers Association of North America. They also participated in a public forum on American university higher education in the Middle East at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) on March 30. “We see ourselves preparing a future leadership that can enter into constructive dialogue with the United States and the West,” said President Waterbury.

“These four institutions represent the best aspects of American education, society, and culture. In many ways, they’re the best possible face this country could be putting forward in the region,” said President Arnold.

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New Look for AUBMC’s Website

AUBMC has redesigned its website to celebrate 140 years of medical education and 100 years of health care. The new website features news, an animated photo gallery of photographs from the 19th century to the present, e-cards, virtual tours of the medical center, screen savers, and wallpaper downloads. To find out more visit:

MEMA 2007

On May 10, the 41st annual Middle East Medical Assembly (MEMA) began its celebrations of the Faculty of Medicine’s 140th anniversary and the AUB Medical Center’s 100th anniversary. The conference, which was attended by local and international medical scientists and physicians, took place at AUBMC, Van Dyck Hall, Issam Fares Hall, and the Saab Medical Library. Chaired by Dr. Aghiad Kutoubi, professor and chairman of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, MEMA’s program included discussions of life support; infectious diseases; liver transplants; blood cancers and bone marrow transplants; medical, surgical, and social aspects of obesity; orthopedics; pediatrics; plastic surgery and body contouring; and primary care. A photo exhibit documenting the history of the school by Dr. Raif Nassif was on display throughout the conference at Issam Fares Hall. There was a minute of silence during the assembly in honor of Dr. Marwan Uwaydah, professor of bacteriology, virology, and internal medicine, who passed away on April 3.

Building 23: Pierre Y. Aboukhater (Fahed) Building

Located across from the Medical Gate, this four-story building that has undergone extensive renovation is scheduled to be operational by late summer. It will include the Wound Center in the Graham and Meredith Rooke Wing in the basement, private clinics for rheumatology/pathology and blood drawing/endocrinology on the first floor, private clinics for internal medicine and nephrology/hypertension on the second floor, and private clinics for dermatology including minor surgery and phototherapy rooms on the third and fourth floors. There will also be a garden where patients and families can recuperate and relax. Work on the second phase will begin when the Olayan School of Business (OSB), which is currently occupying the west wing of the building, moves to the new OSB Building in September 2008.

Building 56 is also undergoing major remodeling, which should be completed by this fall. The St. Jude Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL) outpatient services, currently located across from AUB’s Continuing Education Center, will move to the basement of Building 56 with access from Clemenceau Street. The building will also be home to the University Health Services (UHS) on the first floor, the Naef K. Basile Outpatient Cancer Center, the Psychiatry Wing, the Hospital Information System, and administrative offices for CCCL and UHS.

Newly Renovated Emergency Department

Fully renovated and operational since March 2006, the AUBMC Emergency Department (ED) is expanding its services to include the establishment of the first academic Department of Emergency Medicine in the region. The ED now offers a 24-hour, 7 day a week service and, as of July 2007, is continuously staffed with attending faculty who individually monitor patients. Amin A. Nabih Kazzi (BS ’83), MD, FAAEM is medical director of Emergency Unit Services.

The ED now uses a multiple zoning system that screens patients according to the type and severity of the case. This state-of-the-art facility is equipped with wireless communication that links all members of the department, portable X-Rays, and restricted magnetic cards that are used to stop elevators to transport patients requiring urgent MRIs and CT scans available in the basement of the hospital. There are 17 patient monitors with color coding tracking systems in each cubicle that facilitate non-verbal and quick communication among the medical staff. Observation rooms, a clinical decision unit, a psychiatric room, and one negative-pressure isolation room are also part of the new configuration.

One of the most important changes in the ED is the establishment of patient record status electronic charts that doctors can consult easily and from many locations. This automated dashboard system allows doctors to track patients’ conditions, test results, duration of stay, and release.

The department has 33 beds and can accommodate up to 200 patients in case of external disasters resulting in mass casualties.

New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities, the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will occupy an expanded area that includes the old NICU and the space that was previously occupied by the regular nursery. Located on the 7th floor of the hospital, the new NICU will be adjacent to the delivery rooms and the obstetrics and gynecology units to allow mothers easy access to their NICU babies. NICU will include up to 22 beds in the intensive care and intermediate care sections.

There will be a breast-feeding room, and another room where parents can spend one night with their babies to get used to caring for them before they are discharged from the hospital. There will be a procedure room with multi purpose facilities, a conference room with multi-media equipment, a nurse station and lounge, a milk kitchen, and a small lab. The new NICU, which will be the largest unit in Lebanon, will also feature skylights in response to new US hospital regulations that require entry of natural light to ensure a better work environment.

Breaking the Silence

This spring, the Standing Committee on Medical Education and the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee organized a Lebanese sign language course, entitled “Breaking the Silence.” Dr. Hussein Ismail, director of the Learning Center of the Deaf in Baabda and a graduate of Gallaudet University in the United States, conducted a course for 45 AUB students on how to effectively communicate with deaf patients.

AUBMC’s First Telemedicine Project

AUBMC launched its first telemedicine project on April 19 with the Nabatiyeh Governmental Hospital, through a donation made by Intel Corporation. The project enables physicians from the two hospitals to conduct medical consultations, share data, and diagnose patients using a “point-to-point” high-speed 2-megabits-per-second broadband internet connection. The project is part of a larger initiative, the Partnership for Lebanon, which includes Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, GHAFARI Inc., Microsoft, and Occidental Petroleum.

According to Nadim Cortas, vice president for medical affairs and the Raja N. Khuri Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, “this project will facilitate AUBMC’s active participation in providing health care to remote areas in a more efficient and less costly manner.” During the first telemedicine consultation, Drs. Kibbi, chair of the Dermatology Department, Mroueh, associate professor of pediatrics, and Bitar, a pediatric cardiologist at AUB were able to view a pediatric patient’s symptoms on a monitor and then advise Dr. Ghanem at the Nabatiyeh Governmental Hospital on treatment.

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From the Faculties


Setting Higher Goals in Business Leadership and Journalism

The Olayan School of Business launched the Kamal Shair Strategic Leadership Executive Program on April 4, the first of its kind in the Arab world. According to OSB Dean George Najjar, the program will be a great asset since “leadership is what allows people to build institutions that last and to transform organizations in ways that could not have been possible otherwise.”

Earlier that week the school also launched the OSB–Reuters Business Information Academy to improve the quality of business journalism in the Middle East. The academy will offer specialized diploma programs and a degree program beginning in spring 2008. Najjar explained that the Reuters Business Information Academy will raise the standard of business journalism by refining the skills of journalists and providing a networking forum for media and businessmen.

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Promoting Renewable Energy Research

In 2006, Professor Emeritus Fateh Sakkal established an annual Renewable Energy Graduate Thesis Award to promote research in the field of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency with special applications to Lebanon. The $3,000 annual award is given to a mechanical engineering graduate student at AUB who is writing a master’s thesis on some aspect of renewable energy.

The Sakkal Award was given for the first time on June 1, 2006 to Mohamed Ayoub, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering for his thesis, “Simplified Thermal Model for Designing Displacement Ventilation and Chilled Ceiling Systems in Humid Climates.” His work addressed the feasibility of using a hybrid HVAC system (chilled ceiling with displacement ventilation) in Beirut that used solar energy to dehumidify the supply of outdoor air into the building, which would consume less energy than the conventional air conditioning method.

Mounir Mossolly was selected to receive the award in 2007 for his thesis, “Optimal Control Strategy for a Displacement Ventilation Combined with a Chilled Ceiling HVAC System Using Genetic Algorithm,” which looks at how changing cooling control strategies and optimizing operational parameters can improve air conditioning system performance and reduce energy consumption and costs.


Robert Fisk on Disengagement in the Middle East

Middle East journalist Robert Fisk was invited by CASAR to give a talk on April 26 entitled “After the Collapse: Disengagement in the Middle East.” Known for his outspoken criticism of Western foreign policy in the Middle East, Fisk argued that the war on Iraq was never about spreading democracy but about pursuing oil. Fisk urged the people of the Middle East to resist Western involvement in political affairs and to make their own foreign policy decisions.

Former Sudanese PM Warns Arab countries

Sudan’s former prime minister and leader of al-Ummah opposition party, Imam Sadeq Al-Mahdi gave a public lecture on April 23 at the end of a two-day workshop organized by the Issam Fares Institute and the Heinrich Böll Foundation on currents of change and reform in the Arab world. During his talk, Al-Mahdi warned Arab countries that if they do not overcome their shortcomings, their youth will continue to emigrate to the West or succumb to the extremism of Al-Qaeda-like organizations, because they are not accustomed to reconciling Arab identity with modernization and democratic ideals.

Lebanese-American Pollster John Zogby Rebuts Claims of Clash of Civilizations

Lebanese-American pollster and president and CEO of Zogby International John Zogby spoke at AUB on March 19 in an event organized by the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs.

In a talk entitled “Love, Hate, Envy, or Respect? Recent Trends in Arab and American Public Opinion,” Zogby traced trends in Arab and American public opinion and concluded that “there is no clash of civilizations” between East and West. He pointed out that if you look at the top ten things that Arabs want most, they correspond to the same top ten things cited by Canadians or Americans. Another positive trend which Zogby’s polls have revealed is that a substantial number of Americans are interested in knowing more about Arabs, and that those who are interested in learning about Arabs have a more positive attitude towards Arabs than those who don’t.


Helping Armenian Students

The chair of the Armenian Students Fund (ASF) Committee, John Chakardemian, a senior business student, and other members of the ASF Committee are dedicated to providing other Armenian students with the opportunity to attend AUB. The members of the ASF Committee, a subcommittee of the Lebanese Armenian Heritage Club (LAHC), organized ASF’s second annual fundraising gala dinner for nearly 200 guests on March 16 to raise money for scholarships for Armenian students. LAHC President Nareg Demirdjian, a final year mechanical engineering student, says he decided to get involved with ASF “because it is a very helpful long-term project for Armenian students at AUB. As the economic situation in Lebanon is deteriorating, this fund will give bright Armenian students who are in financial need the opportunity to attend the University… Helping in this way is important to me, because I personally had a lot of difficulties in paying my own tuition fees at AUB. I want to help others as much as I can and I expect those who… benefit from the fund, [will] help others in … turn, and so on...”

International Sports Festival

A delegation of 86 athletes and officials from AUB traveled to Greece to participate in the International Sports Festival March 15-19, which was organized by the American College of Greece in conjunction with the Association of American International Colleges and Universities. Competitions were held in men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and table tennis. AUB’s men’s and women’s teams did well: the women’s basketball and soccer teams came in first while the men’s soccer and volleyball teams ranked second. AUB also took first and second places in women’s table tennis, first and third places in men’s table tennis, and ranked first among men and women in the tennis tournament.

Faculty News

Alien species: Michel Bariche, assistant professor of biology, presented a paper at the 38th CIESM Congress in Istanbul April 9-13 on the feeding ecology of a recently introduced fish predator to the Mediterranean Sea. In his talk entitled “Diet of Lessepsian Fistularia Commersonii (Teleostei, Fistulariidae) Off the Coast of Lebanon: Preliminary Results,” Bariche presented results which showed that the Fistularia Commersonii fish dines exclusively on native Mediterranean fish regardless of the habitat in which it lives. This paper is part of a broader study to examine the stomach contents of this “invasive predator as a first step towards assessing its feeding ecology in the new environment.”

New in Underwater Archaeology: Ralph Pedersen,
Department of History and Archaeology, who was appointed to the Whittlesey Chair for 2006-07, taught courses at AUB this past year in underwater archaeology, a subject that has not been previously offered. A graduate of the State University of New York, Pedersen specializes in nautical archaeology and spent 1984-89 excavating the shipwreck of Ulburum off the southeast coast of Turkey. He has also conducted excavations in Eritrea, the United States, and in Lebanon. Pedersen gave a talk at the AUB Museum on April 25 in which he discussed the results of his excavations at Ulburum.

Honored at Harvard University: Samir Khalaf, professor of social and behavioral sciences and director of the Center for Behavioral Research, was honored April 23-24 by both the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Program on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. The event, held in recognition of his outstanding teaching and research, started with a lecture given by Professor Khalaf entitled “New England Missionaries as Precursors to Soft Power and Culture.” The next day Khalaf conducted a master class where four graduate students from Harvard and MIT discussed sexuality, urbanism, violence, and identity. The four students, a historian, anthropologist, urban planner, and a student of science, technology, and society, presented statements on the relevance of Khalaf’s work to Middle East studies, their own disciplines, and personal research interests.

Elected to the AAP: Dr. Fuad Ziyadeh, acting chair of the Department of Physiology and associate dean for academic affairs at the Faculty of Medicine, has been elected to the Association of American Physicians (AAP) for his influential research on diabetic kidney disease. Ziyadeh, who received both a BS in chemistry and biology (1976) and an MD (1980) from AUB, was at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, for many years before returning to AUB in October 2005 as professor of medicine and biochemistry. In December 2005 he was appointed associate dean for academic affairs at the Faculty of Medicine.

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Studying Husbands and Housework: Marwan Khawaja, professor of epidemiology and population health and director of the Center for Research on Population and Health, recently published a study in the American Journal of Public Health entitled “Husband’s Involvement in Housework and Women’s Psychological Health: Findings from a Population-Based Study in Lebanon.” The study examines the link between men’s involvement in housework and women’s assessment of their own mental health, marital dissatisfaction, and unhappiness. Not surprisingly, the study of 1,652 married couples living in low-income neighborhoods of Beirut concludes that wives whose husbands rarely help around the house are more likely to be dissatisfied with their marriages and unhappy.

The Changing AUB Seal

The first AUB seal was designed when the Syrian Protestant College was established in 1866. It featured a realistic rendering of the cedar with Arabic text spelling out the name of the college and founding year. This seal was used until the establishment of Greater Lebanon by the French mandate in 1920. Not surprisingly, this political change necessitated a redesign of the University’s seal. Although the shape of the seal and the look of the cedar were hardly altered, the introduction of both English and Latin text was significant. In December 2001, the University formed a committee to finalize the look of the AUB seal. Interestingly, although the seal had always included a cedar, the appearance of the cedar had changed noticeably over the years. The Archives and Special Collections Department at Jafet Library provides an explanation for this transformation from the original realistic cedar to the more abstract and almost block-like cedar. It is believed that the extensive use of zinc stamps caused many areas on the cedar to get worn down, thus creating this new look. Because the “new look” had been widely embraced over the years, it was officially adopted in 2001 as part of a redesign of the seal that included a new rough-edged circle. The Arabic script was reworked by calligrapher Nassib Makarem, father of Dr. Sami Makarem, a professor of Arabic at AUB. As with any symbol, not everyone likes the AUB seal. Some wonder whether it is appropriate for such a renowned institution with its awkward looking cedar tree accentuated by the bulky branch protruding from its trunk. Everyone does agree, however, that the AUB seal is loaded with history and culture. Perhaps it is its imperfections that make it special, reminding us of the human touch that has marked AUB’s excellence.

Mirna Hamady (BA ’09)


Fleeting Moments

Exhibition April 11–18: AUB hosted an exhibition in West Hall entitled “Fleeting Moments” by Lebanese entomologist Riad Traboulsi. Traboulsi’s 54 black and white photographs from his book, Fleeting Moments, vividly capture his subjects in everyday activities in cities worldwide.

Portraits Reflect Diversity

During the month of May, the Photography Club organized an exhibition of 85 photographs in the West Hall Common Room and later at the Exhibition Gallery of Jafet Library. Moza Al Naimi, a graduate student majoring in marine biology, explained that her photos reflected the cultural diversity of her Qatari-Bahraini background and of cultural life in the Arab Gulf in general.

Making Music for Scholarships

Fundraising concerts for student aid are fast becoming a tradition at AUB. For the past several years the Zaki Nassif Program, the Music Club at AUB, and now Lebanese Diva Magida El Roumi and the AUB Scholarship Fundraising Committee have held popular events to support various causes on campus. On April 28, more than one thousand spectators including AUB alumni and friends gathered at the Casino du Liban to watch El Roumi perform songs of love and patriotism. This event, organized by the AUB Scholarship Fundraising Committee to benefit AUB’s financial aid program, is the third collaboration between AUB and El Roumi. The AUB Scholarship Fundraising Committee is currently chaired by HE Ambassador Khalil Makkawi and supported by dedicated AUB graduates.