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Celebrating LAU Beirut’s class of 2013

July 8, 2013—

“Every mother and father forgets the pains of parenting the moment his or her child walks up that stage and receives his or her degree,” said Issam Chabab, proud father of 21-year-old Angie, who graduated with a B.S. in biology from LAU on July 6. “It all boils down to this moment —,” he continued, “the moment you realize that all your efforts as a parent have finally paid off.”

Angie Chabab was one of over 1,000 students who were conferred degrees at LAU Beirut on July 6 and 7 amid family, friends, faculty, and distinguished guests. While the first graduation ceremony recognized the completion of degrees from the School of Architecture and Design, the School of Arts and Sciences and graduate programs, the second one celebrated the bestowal of degrees upon School of Business graduates.

Congratulating the alumni-to-be on their exceptional dedication throughout their studies at the university, LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra whished them health and wealth saying, “May you always live in the company of your friends, exploring the richness of life, and experiencing the joy of giving, all your days.

Abdallah Wahbé Tamari, founder and chairman of SUCAFINA SA — a Swiss company specialized in coffee trading —, was conferred an honorary doctorate in humane letters on the evening of July 6. Born and raised in Jaffa, Palestine, Tamari’s family — like many others in Palestine — was forced to migrate to Lebanon as a result of the 1948 Palestinian exodus.

“Almost everything we owned was confiscated by the Israelis,” recalled Tamari with tangible melancholy. “My father’s successful import/export business almost disappeared overnight.”

But disheartenment found no home in Tamari’s heart — he chose the road less traveled by and decided to study accountancy by correspondence, forging a new path for himself, attending law school in the evenings.

“Make no mistake,” Tamari advised his audience, “money does not make a person’s character, but knowledge, values, passion and compassion do.”

Psychology student Hana Nimer’s valedictorian address matched Tamari’s speech in vigor, warmth and geniality. A mother of three who recently completed her fifth decade of life, Nimer enrolled at LAU in 2009, more than thirty years after graduating from high-school.

Addressing her colleagues, she said, “You made me feel motivated, energetic, and as one of you despite the age gap. Thank you. I hope that my story could be an example that there is no age limit to follow your dreams.”

The following evening, an honorary doctorate in humane letters was conferred to May El Khalil, president of the Beirut Marathon Association. An avid runner and sports enthusiast, El Khalil faced her worst fear — the fear of not being able to run — in November 2001, after a nearly fatal accident left her with both her legs crushed, and several serious lacerations.

It was during that time, from her hospital bed, that the Beirut Marathon was born — “and brought me back to life with it. If I could never run again, I wanted to make sure others could,” enthused El Khalil.

Addressing the School of Business graduates, she said, “If there’s anything I can share with you today, it’s this: when you leave campus tonight, do not ever forget to keep dreaming.”

Fittingly, class valedictorian Loubna Abdallah also advised her colleagues to “Dream and dream big. We owe it to our families, our professors, our university, our country and to ourselves to pursue our dreams,” before adding, “LAU has given us all the tools to succeed. We are confident, eloquent, and knowledgeable young men and women. It is up to us now to use these tools and create our future.”

Several awards were presented during the ceremonies. The winners of the President’s Award — a $1000 award in recognition of academic distinction — were Reine Rahif Jalloul (Architecture and Design), Myriam Charbel Aziz (Arts and Science), and Toni Charbel Fares (Business). The Torch Award for outstanding leadership in cooperation with others went to Hala Hisham Hassan (Architecture and Design), Omar Mohammad Omran (Arts and Sciences), and Nour Al Hoda Nizam Nizam (Business). The Riyad Nassar Leadership Award went to Nour Hassan Zein (Arts and Sciences).

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The audience rises in respect as the faculty march by.

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Over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive their degrees.

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Officials, students’ families and friends attend the event.

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LAU Provost Dr. George K. Najjar declares the ceremony open.

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Dr. Jabbra addresses the crowd as the faculty watch over the proceedings with palpable pride.

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Abdallah Wahbé Tamari speaking after being conferred an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

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Class valedictorian Loubna Abdallah advises her colleagues to “dream big.”

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May El Khalil receives an honorary doctorate from Dr. Jabbra and Provost Dr. George K. Najjar.

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Students celebrate their graduation.

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