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LAU 2009 generation: Strong characters and high academic achievements

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Commencement ceremony in Beirut.

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Commencement ceremony in Byblos.

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Governor of Lebanon's Central Bank Riad Salameh (middle) received an Honorary Doctorate at the commencement ceremony on the Beirut campus.

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LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra presents an Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, renowned American chemist of Lebanese origin, at the LAU–Byblos commencement ceremony.

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Beirut students' graduation is celebrated with a display of fireworks.

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July 21, 2009—

Over 1,465 graduates from the class of 2009 threw their hats in the air at LAU last week, celebrating completion of their degrees, to the applause of their peers, parents and professors gathered at both Beirut and Byblos campuses for the annual Commencement Exercises.

Students received their degrees from Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra, LAU president, on July 16 in Byblos and July 18 in Beirut, in the presence of government officials and members of parliament in addition to parents.

“This is the beginning of their adult independence,” said Jabbra in his address. “We ask from the government, the private sector and the university sector to make sure that they and the future graduates have the opportunities they deserve in this society, to use their talent to make Lebanon a better place for themselves, for us,” he emphasized.  

The 2009 generation of LAU graduates is a very promising one, said Dr. Abdallah Sfeir, LAU provost. The valedictorian from the Byblos commencement, Selim Elias Baz, proves him right.

A talented athlete and pianist, Baz was the student with the highest academic average in Byblos. He graduated from the School of Engineering and Architecture with the highest possible GPA of 4.0, achieved while volunteering for a number of humanitarian organizations, Sfeir proudly reflected. In addition, Baz will be joining the Imperial College London for his master’s degree.

Baz says he spent his years at LAU investing in himself and attributes his success to the encouragement he was given by his professors. “I want to thank each and every member of the faculty for their encouragement and vision,” he said.


A place that builds characters

Also in Byblos, Friday Nazih Smiley, who graduated from the School of Business, received the President’s Award for getting the highest cumulative GPA, and the Torch Award for exhibiting outstanding leadership in cooperation with others. She also believes that the years she spent at LAU changed her.

“I am proud to have graduated from this university. I loved my teachers, my friends, and above all, the atmosphere. It was friendly and the professors were always ready to help us. LAU has a special place in my heart,” she said.

While her academic achievements earned her a high distinction and two awards, they also landed her a place in the master’s in economics program at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. Her career ambitions are very high — she says she still has to choose between an academic career and working with the United Nations.


The Honorary Distinctions

During the two Commencement Exercises, two distinguished Lebanese personalities were awarded with Honorary Doctorates.

In Beirut, Provost Sfeir and LAU President Jabbra presented Riad Salameh, Governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank, with a robe representing an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities. Lebanon has gained international praise for Salameh’s prudent banking regulations, and in his address, Salameh reflected on the international financial crisis and the Lebanese economy’s growth during the difficult times.

“The Bank of Lebanon has taken responsibility to ensure stability of the Lebanese currency compared to the foreign currencies, and we’ve achieved that in spite of all the difficulties,” he said. “In spite of all the hardships Lebanon has been through, we still hold the same determination and the same goal to maintain the stability of our currency.”

Governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank Riad Salameh (middle) received an Honorary Doctorate at the commencement ceremony on the Beirut campus.



At the LAU-Byblos commencement ceremony, an Honorary Doctorate was presented to American chemist of Lebanese origin, Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri in honor of his achievements. Shakhashiri is professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was the first chair of the William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea.

Shakhashiri said he was happy to receive his honorary degree from LAU for personal reasons. “I am very grateful for my heritage. I am now an alumnus of LAU, the same prestigious university where my mother earned her diploma 73 years ago.”

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LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra presents an Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, renowned American chemist of Lebanese origin, at the LAU-Byblos commencement ceremony.

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