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Byblos cafeteria gets spiced up

The Byblos-campus cafeteria reopens after a summer-long renovation project, financed by the Alwaleed Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation.

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Students were among the first to dine at the renovated Byblos cafeteria.

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H.E. Dr. Leila Solh Hamade, vice president of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation that financed the renovations, cuts the ceremonial ribbon with LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra (left) to inaugurate the cafeteria.

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H.E. Solh Hamade unveils a plaque hung near the entrance of the renovated cafeteria.

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H.E. Solh Hamade makes rounds throughout the cafeteria.

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Students and staff listen to speeches during the inauguration ceremony before being served lunch.

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A new team from USM Catering staffs both cafeterias in Byblos and Beirut.

Click on any photo above to view all six images.

Flocks of students, faculty and staff turned out for the inauguration of the renovated Byblos-campus cafeteria October 6, where Her Excellency Dr. Leila Solh Hamade, vice president of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation that financed the renovations, was present to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

The cafeteria remained closed throughout the summer while work crews equipped the dining hall with a cybercafe, large LCD televisions, new furniture, and a modern layout, among other upgrades.

“We felt that it was critical to provide a friendly space for students, with top-notch food quality and a cybercafe where they can work and research while they eat,” says Roy Majdalani, vice president for Human Resources and University Services that oversaw the project.

Majdalani says they decided to renovate the cafeteria in response to student demands, noting that Byblos students do not have quick access to many other eateries in the town.

“The cafeteria has really become more than just a place to eat,” says Ali Hashem, a civil engineering student who attended the inauguration. “The whole atmosphere has changed with the new setup,” he adds. “It’s now a place where we can study, socialize and feel comfortable — a place that brings us together.”

Speaking at the inauguration, Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra, LAU president, praised H.E. Solh Hamade and the foundation, which donated about $300,000 to the project, for their ongoing charitable work in Lebanon.

Jabbra said H.E. Solh Hamade was blessed with the “gift of giving, commitment and passion, for a country that needs a lot of passion.” He added: “You are a star … always bright, always shining, always giving hope to those who have almost given up hope in Lebanon.”

H.E. Solh Hamade, who served as the Lebanese Minister of Industry from 2004-2005, addressed students inside the cafeteria during the inauguration ceremony.

“Today, you are at the crossroads of Lebanon’s destiny,” she said, challenging them to respect Lebanon and work to improve the situation in the country.

The cafeteria’s facelift accounts for only half the excitement. The icing on the cake for cafeteria goers is LAU’s new contract with USM Catering to provide a fresh menu for both the Byblos and Beirut campuses.

According to Diane Kiameh, managing director of USM Catering, their dining services were sought after a recent survey by LAU’s Hospitality Services. “The priority for LAU was to offer quality food first, not go after a caterer with the lowest prices,” Kiameh says.

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