Rafic Hariri 1944-2005
The late Prime Minister was a good and generous friend who shared with LAU a common vision and commitment to rebuild Lebanon and reestablish peace in the Middle East.
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LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra and President Emeritus Riyad F. Nassar did not have to go far on Tuesday, February 15 to offer their condolences on behalf of the university to Mme. Nazik Hariri and Bahaeddine, Saadeddine, Hind, Jumana, Ayman, Fahd and Oday Hariri, the widow and children of the slain former Lebanese Prime Minister. They just had to walk next door, as the Hariri family literally lives next to LAU’s Beirut campus.
Whether in office or out, Rafic Hariri was always very supportive of education in general and American higher education in particular as evidenced by his strong support of both LAU and AUB. In July 1996 Prime Minister Hariri addressed LAU’s Beirut BUC graduates, encouraging them “to participate fully in the rebuilding of their country by putting their newly-acquired knowledge and talents to good use.” He also took the occasion to announce that his Cabinet had approved the upgrading of their Beirut University College to Lebanese American University, and that both the Schools of Pharmacy and of Engineering and Architecture had been granted government licenses.
Six years later the Prime Minister was the main speaker at the 2002 Byblos commencement where he again urged graduates to give something back to Lebanon, while also jokingly complaining that their fellow students in Beirut sometimes kept him awake by playing music on campus on warm summer nights. This time the university honored him for giving back so much to his country through his philanthropy and political leadership by awarding him an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
His Excellency Mr. Hariri became a good friend and confidant of former LAU President Nassar and made a special effort to attend and honor Dr. Nassar at his Gala Retirement Dinner last July. He had since welcomed and pledged his ongoing support to President Jabbra.
The late Prime Minister has been eulogized as a Lebanese and Arab patriot who served as a voice for tolerance and moderation. We knew him as that as well as a very good and generous friend who shared with LAU a common vision and commitment to rebuild Lebanon and reestablish peace in the Middle East. We too will very much miss our good friend and neighbor, Rafic Hariri.
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