July 12, 2013—
An air of nostalgia swept through the Beirut and Byblos campuses as many of LAU’s alumni returned to their alma mater for the annual Alumni Homecoming from June 26 to July 2.
The reunions were marked by a relaxed atmosphere as smooth music played. “It was the perfect environment in which to be reunited with old friends and to meet members of different generations of LAU graduates,” said Stephanie El Khoury (‘08).
A glance at yearbook style photos, present at both events, gave a glimpse of just how much LAU has changed in the past half a century. They revealed the gradual inclusion of male students, the decrease in student numbers during the difficult years of war and LAU’s growth from the early 90s on. A board was up for every fifth year group, from ‘63 through ‘08, and students from these years also received commemorative pins.
“It is motivational for young LAU graduates to see the successes and achievements of earlier generations,” said Mario Habr (‘08), who attended the Byblos reunion,
Habr shares more in common with earlier generations than he might realize. He is not the only alumnus or alumna to have his memories of LAU intricately linked to that of his romance, having met his wife on campus.
The Alumni Homecoming was the perfect opportunity not only to meet with old friends, and other generations, but also to re-connect with LAU itself. LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra and Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Abdallah Al Khal, had much to report at this year’s gathering. Not least the first graduating classes from the schools of medicine, nursing and pharmacy, the pioneering new fashion design program and the opening of a campus in New York.
Like many alumni who maintain contact with LAU all year round, Rajiha Mahmoud Saghir (BCW’63) already knew about these recent achievements. “I make sure not to miss any of the lectures held by the Alumni Office. They have helped me to stay in touch with the university and old friends,” Saghir said.
With over 36 chapters worldwide, LAU’s alumni have been very busy this year. Al Khal was proud to announce that over $800,000 has been raised in 2012-2013 by these alumni chapters, all for the noble cause of scholarships. The gathering provided an opportunity for the board members of these chapters to come together in their annual meeting and discuss issues of alumni welfare and participation.
The 2013 Homecoming went beyond just these reunions, with a brunch and a reception for those celebrating their 50th graduation anniversary. Although the usual dinner and trip had to be cancelled, due to the unstable political situation in the country, the tradition of presenting awards, voted in by alumni, was upheld. This year, the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award was Dr. Ghada Hijjawi — first Arab woman to be elected president of the World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region, for 2013 - 2016 — for her achievements in the art world. The Alumni Recognition Award went to Yorgui Teyrouz, who overcame personal tragedy and founded Donner Sang Compter, an organization that coordinates blood donation throughout Lebanon and which has won several awards for social achievements.
This alumni-dedicated week served as a reminder of the mutual bond between LAU and its graduates, both recent and older. Leila Dagher, president of the Alumni Association, was keen to point out that not only do alumni help LAU, but that LAU is also here to help them in return.
Dr. Jabbra concluded his message at the Beirut reunion hammering home just how dearly LAU holds its alumni: ‘We are proud of you, we love you’.
Alumni point themselves out with pride.
Mingling at LAU Beirut.
Dr. Jabbra and Leila Dagher honoring the alumni at LAU Beirut.
LAU President Emeritus Riyad F. Nassar welcomed the alumni at LAU Byblos.
A relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the Byblos reunion.
Emad Adeeb, Egyptian businessman and journalist, in a one-on-one conducted by alumna Rima Karaki, Lebanese journalist and renowned TV presenter.
The annual gathering is an opportunity for LAU alumni to introduce their family members to their alma mater.
The Homecoming brunch, a yearly gathering alumni look forward to.
The Alumni Association Board with members of the Alumni Relations Office and representatives of chapters in Lebanon and around the world gather to discuss issues related to social welfare of the alumni and encourage more participation.
The 50th graduation anniversary reception took place at Dr. Jabbra’s residence where the LAU Alumni Association honored the alumnae by presenting them with anniversary commemorative medals.