LAU inaugurates Frem Civic Center
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June 3, 2011—
In 2004, the Georges N. Frem Foundation, a Lebanese NGO committed to supporting education, social causes and development programs, announced it would help LAU finance the construction of the Frem Civic Center, a state-of-the-art, 5,240-square-meter academic hub on the Byblos campus.
Two years later, the organization’s founder, Georges N. Frem, a former minister, deputy and prominent businessman, passed away.
The construction of the center continued for several years, and on June 2, Frem’s family and friends joined LAU community members to formally inaugurate the center, a symbol, they say, that will help keep Frem’s memory alive.
“He may not be physically present with us, but listen carefully: his happy soul is fluttering upon us, looking down, and saying ‘I am so happy with the family, with all of you, because of this single achievement,’” said Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra, LAU president, during the inauguration ceremony.
Jabbra extended his gratitude to the Frem family for what he described as a commitment to bettering communities and reaching out to youth.
The new building has been envisioned as a center for civic responsibility and leadership. It will be used to host workshops, seminars and lectures on transparency, and ethical and sound governance practices, with the aim of strengthening Lebanon’s democratic institutions.
Currently, the School of Nursing has set up a modern lab inside the center, as the Medical and Nursing Building is still under construction. The center is also being used by the School of Business and the University Enterprise Office, and in the future it may house some of LAU’s centers and institutes.
“The university has intellectual capital, made up of brilliant faculty and students. Together with business, we will strive to develop and advance these talents as a force for good in the world,” said Tony Frem, the brother of the late Georges Frem, at the ceremony.
Speaking at the event, Christian Oussi, LAU executive director of Public and Media Relations, described the vision for the center as helping the university achieve its missions.
“We are gathered here this evening, at the doorsteps of our latest achievement, to reiterate our deep commitment to the pursuit of leadership, ethics and civic responsibility,” Oussi said. “We celebrate a milestone in our relentless march toward academic excellence.”
After the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon, guests toured the center, peeking into classrooms and other facilities.
Built on a hill overlooking the city of Byblos and the Mediterranean, the Byblos campus has witnessed rapid expansion and development over the past several years. A 12,500-square-meter building for the schools of Medicine and Nursing is being constructed adjacent to the Frem Civic Center.
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