Governance and Administration

Office of the President

Presidential Search Progress and Shortlisting

Dear Members of the LAU Community,

I wish to report to you about the progress the Presidential Search Committee has made over the summer, and what steps remain as we enter the final phase of the process.

When I last wrote to you, we were in the midst of assembling a list of hundreds of names put forward for the Committee’s consideration, many from yourselves, and many more from our Search Consultant, Witt Kieffer. These names were reduced to a long list of around 10 which was reviewed by the Search Committee at a meeting in New York at the end of May. During that meeting, it was agreed to invite 5 of the candidates for in-person interviews in New York in July. These interviews were rigorous and thorough, and resulted in the Search Committee selecting three finalists, each of whom have outstanding qualifications.

We now enter the final stage of the process, which will be to have all three candidates separately visit LAU’s campuses in Beirut and Byblos, as well as LAUMC-RH. These will be exhaustive three day visits in which the candidates will meet with the President’s Cabinet, the Council of Deans, faculty, physicians, staff and students both in large groups and smaller sessions. The objective of these visits is for the candidates to become better acquainted with LAU, and for the whole spectrum of our community in turn to have an opportunity to meet and engage with those from whom our new President will be chosen. The Search Committee wants to gather the impressions of the community as part of its candidate assessment, and to that end those who meet with the three finalists will be asked to fill out a confidential and anonymous feedback form.

The visits will take place over the period October 29 to November 14. Returning Board Member and Vice Chair of the Search Committee, Philip Stoltzfus, will oversee the visits and be in attendance throughout.

Following the visits, the Search Committee will meet to review all of the information it has gathered on the candidates, and choose one name only to submit to the Board of Trustees, as per the University Byelaws. The Board - and the Board alone - will vote to determine who the next President of Lebanese American University will be. The date for that vote is still under discussion.

The Board of Trustees is fully aware that the Search we have undertaken is critical to the continued success of LAU, and as such is the subject of acute interest on the part of the Community. We have endeavoured to be as transparent and inclusive as possible as regards the process, while respecting the need for confidentiality in the interests of both the candidates and LAU. The road has been long, as must be the case to ensure a comprehensive, rigorous search. We look forward to your active engagement in the coming candidate visits. We will continue to exercise our responsibility deliberately and with care, and are confident that in so doing we will find the President LAU needs and deserves, and to whom we can entrust our educational mission.

With best regards,

Peter Tanous
Chairman of the Board of Trustees