Governance and Administration

Office of the President

Presidential Search

Dr. Michel Mawad to succeed Dr. Joseph Jabbra as the next president of LAU

April 25, 2020

Dear Students, Alumni, Colleagues and Friends,

I am delighted and proud to welcome the announcement made by the Chairman of our Board of Trustees, Mr. Peter Tanous, informing us that on Saturday, April 25, 2020, the Board elected Dr. Michel Mawad, Dean of the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine, as the new President of LAU. He will succeed me on October 1, 2020.

Our President elect, Dr. Michel Mawad, has an impressive academic background. He is a graduate of the USJ School of Medicine. His passion for medicine then took him to the United States, where he continued his education and training in prestigious medical institutions in New York City, at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Saint Luke’s Hospital, the Neurological Institute of New York, and Columbia Presbyterian Center. He is U.S. Board certified, and has licensure for Texas and New York States.

After completing his medical studies and training, he began his academic career at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1981, rising quickly and impressively to the rank of Clinical Assistant Professor. In 1987, he was appointed Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at Baylor College of Medicine, with a focus on Neurology. As he continued to excel in his academic career, he achieved rapidly the rank of tenured Full Professor in the Departments of Radiology, Ophthalmology, Neurosurgery, and Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine. There, he was Chair of the Department of Radiology from 2001 to 2014. After a thorough search, in 2017 Dr. Mawad was selected as Dean and Professor at the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine.

In addition to his notable academic career, Dr. Mawad has held a number of prestigious professional appointments in Houston at the Methodist Hospital, Taub General Hospital, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. From 2015 to 2017, he served as Director of the Stroke Center, The Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi, and is currently Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center, LAUMC-RH.

Dr. Mawad has been a tireless researcher, having to his credit 107 authored and co-authored publications in prestigious medical and scientific journals, six book chapters, 24 scientific exhibits, and 211 scientific papers presented at national and international meetings. He has attended 28 international meetings and symposia, and has always upgraded his medical knowledge through continuing medical education.

Dr. Mawad is also well versed in administration. He has served on 21 academic and professional committees, nine medical organizations, and in 1991 was elected President of the World Federation of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology. For his achievements in the medical profession he has received nine prestigious honors and awards.

As President of LAU, my experience with Dr. Mawad has been extremely positive. Here I will focus only on three major areas, all most important to the success of a university president. They are as follows:

Dr. Mawad’s Character: In all his endeavors, Dr. Mawad has always been guided by a strong work ethic, scientific integrity, and academic discipline. He leads by example through hard work, empowering colleagues, and defining and setting high expectations both for himself and for them. He is humble, transparent, candid, empathetic, and honest in his professional relationships with his colleagues. As a result, he has won the trust and respect of his co-workers, and the admiration and affection of his students. He says that he has dedicated his life to the healing and well-being of his patients with impeccable integrity, but with respectful and compassionate honesty.

Dr Mawad’s Leadership: I have also been impressed by Dr. Mawad’s leadership qualities: keen intelligence, strong organizational skills, ability to listen, and humility. Since he joined LAU, he reorganized the Gilbert & Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine, and brought the faculty together in a peaceful and caring way, yet firmly and responsibly. He established new programs, promoted clinical research, and initiated a new fellows program. He gradually increased enrollment, and added hospital affiliations to accommodate the growing number of our residents over and above LAUMC-RH absorptive capacity. The welfare and well-being of his medical students has always been uppermost in his mind. As a leader, he never makes decisions unilaterally, but collectively. He is always inclusive in his approach, respectful in his consultations, and considerate in his demeanor. He never shies away from meeting courageously the challenges he faces and making tough decisions when the time calls for them. Because of his passion for what he believes in, his hard and meticulous work, his drive for scholarship and research, he has become an inspiration for his faculty, a role model to emulate for his staff, and a father figure for his students. As Dean of the Medical School, he established an excellent relationship with his colleagues in the Council of Deans, where he fully engaged in discussion of vital issues at LAU, always offering new ideas to meet new challenges. His contributions to LAUMC-RH have been very significant, and he has brought the School of Medicine and the hospital together in an exemplary way.

Dr. Mawad’s Vision: Dr. Mawad is a visionary who plans strategically for the future. His educational vision for our students is clear. In this respect, he always says that “in this changing world, LAU will produce graduates ready to embrace all aspects of new technology, but who will remain well educated and well-rounded citizens of society.” He readily champions innovation, takes daring and bold steps, and accommodates change and builds on it. Dr. Mawad is a careful and well organized, but daring, planner. His contributions to forming and completing the integrated strategic plan for the medical school and LAUMC-RH reveals an impressively methodical and future-oriented mind, a keen strategic thinking, and an impressive sagacious vision.

Dr. Mawad holds that at present Lebanon faces numerous economic, financial, monetary and political challenges, and now, he adds, Covid-19. According to his vision for the immediate future, he believes that the university should go into survival mode, preserving its core mission, strengthening enrollment, retaining its precious human capital, and protecting its endowment. He has faith in the innovative mind of all Lebanese, their ability to withstand hardship, and their resilience in the face of dangerous challenges. He maintains that with those qualities, recovery for Lebanon is inevitable. He is optimistic that soon we will recapture enrollment, and fill vacant faculty and staff positions. Even in the midst of our crises, he is confident that we will turn asperity into opportunity, revitalizing our energies, diversifying our fundraising approaches, and taking advantage of hybrid and online education. He believes that the business model American institutions of higher education have been following needs to be re-engineered, if not eliminated altogether. He emphasizes the importance of recruiting strong faculty, promoting LAU without borders, fostering interdisciplinary education, strengthening digital culture, creating relevant graduate and undergraduate programs, and all to meet the demands of the fourth industrial revolution. He strongly supports both basic and applied research and believes that LAU should continue to be an agent of change model in society.

Dr. Mawad lived in the United States for 40 years, and America has substantially shaped his character and personality. But he is a son of Lebanon. He knows our country very well, and has long wanted to come back and contribute to its future. Gladly, we are giving him this opportunity to do so.

With your help and support, Dr. Mawad will be a terrific president, for he has the knowhow, the foresight, the passion, and the compassion to take LAU to the next level of excellence. Dr. Mawad has my full support.

Please join me in congratulating our LAU President-Elect, Dr. Michel Mawad, and in wishing him success as he prepares to assume the Presidency of LAU.

Thank you, JGJ.

Joseph G. Jabbra, Ph.D.
Lebanese American University

Election of Dr. Michel Mawad as the next President of LAU

April 25, 2020

To: Members of the Faculty, Administration, Staff, Student Body, and Friends of LAU:

I extend sincere greetings to you and your families for your safety and health during these trying times.

I am pleased to announce that the LAU Board of Trustees has elected Dr. Michel E. Mawad to be the next president of Lebanese American University (LAU). Dr. Mawad’s tenure will begin on October 1, 2020. Dr. Mawad succeeds Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra who has been president of LAU for the past 16 years. 

Under Dr. Jabbra’s leadership, LAU has made tremendous strides toward becoming one of the leading educational institutions in the MENA. Dr. Jabbra’s tireless efforts have laid the foundation for future growth and strengthened LAU’s reputation as a progressive and innovative world-class university.  

In that context, your Board of Trustees is gratified that Dr. Mawad has agreed to serve as LAU’s next president.  Dr. Mawad has demonstrated his leadership skills as Dean of LAU’s Gilbert & Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine (SOM), where extraordinary progress has been made under his tenure. Moreover, Dr. Mawad has earned the respect of his students, his patients, and his peers for his vision and leadership, qualities that will serve him well in his new role.

Dr. Mawad will take on this new position in a challenging environment to say the least. Lebanon has endured many hardships since we began the search for a successor to Dr. Jabbra. Indeed, since that time, we have seen a popular revolution, a change in government, a default on the country’s external debt, a virtual failure of the Lebanese economy, and if that weren’t enough, a global pandemic. 

For these reasons, the board took comfort in the knowledge that our new president is someone who is not only incredibly well-qualified, but whom we all know, love and respect. His familiarity with the university and its people will ensure his ability to begin the job with a substantial amount of ingrained knowledge and experience. In other words, he will be able to hit the ground running and instantly start navigating the challenges and identifying the opportunities. 

Dr. Mawad will also have the benefit of working with Dr. Jabbra for several months, continuing the progress made under Dr. Jabbra’s tenure. Further, because of his incredible passion for LAU, Dr. Jabbra has also pledged to be available to assist Dr. Mawad even after his departure.

Please join me in extending our profound gratitude to Dr. Jabbra and in welcoming Dr. Mawad as LAU’s new president. Let us all rejoice as we embark on the next chapter of our beloved institution, as Lebanese American University continues its rise to the pantheon of higher learning in Lebanon, the MENA and the world.


Peter J. Tanous
LAU Board of Trustees

Previous Announcements

October 30, 2019

Dear Members of the LAU Community,

Due to the current events that are gripping the entire country, the visit of the three (3) candidates for President will be postponed till after Christmas.

The new dates of the three (3) visits will be communicated to you in due time.

With my best wishes,

Joseph G. Jabbra, Ph.D.,

Lebanese American University

September 13, 2019

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

April 15, 2019

Dear Members of the LAU Community,

I want to thank you for the gracious way in which you received your Board of Trustees during the meeting in Lebanon in March. That meeting was a great success, in no small measure due to your enthusiastic support and participation.

I had the opportunity to speak to many of you about the progress we are making in terms of the Presidential Search, which, as you all know, is the principal priority for the Board of Trustees between now and when Dr. Jabbra steps down in September 2020. As I didn’t have a chance to speak to everyone personally, I wanted to provide a brief summary as to where we are, and where we are going.

In September the Board appointed its Search Committee comprised of Trustees, faculty and alumni representatives, which in turn recruited a renowned international search firm, Witt Kieffer. In December, Witt Kieffer visited Lebanon and interviewed all the major stakeholders of the University to obtain their views on the qualities needed in our next president, and to establish a mechanism for nominations to be put forward for consideration. Since then, through the Committee and yourselves, we have received dozens of recommendations, and the Search Consultant has generated many more. We are now in the process of preliminary contact and interviews, and from these conversations no doubt will come new names for us to consider.

Our objective now is to reduce this universe of names to a long list of ten to fifteen that will be reviewed at an all-day session of the Search Committee in New York at the end of May. The summer will be spent in interviews with prospective candidates to produce a short-list of three. These finalists will come to Lebanon in the autumn for campus visits and interviews with the LAU community, after which the Committee will select one candidate for consideration by the Board, as per the bylaws of the University. Having reviewed the names submitted thus far, and on the basis of our preliminary contacts, I can tell you that we have some outstanding prospects. The fact that we can attract such a calibre of candidate reflects the prominence and reputation of LAU within the academic world, which is in turn a testament to Dr. Jabbra’s leadership and the hard work of all of you.

As stated many times, this Presidential Search involves a process that is methodical and meticulous, that incorporates the thoughts and suggestions of our full community, and that encompasses a world-wide search of the most talented and accomplished leaders whom we can find to entrust the stewardship of LAU’s educational mission. Although we have made a good start, there is much work to do. I promise you that the Board and the Committee will be unhurried, focussed, resolute and unwavering in the execution of our responsibility. In so doing, I am confident that we will find the President that LAU, our community, and our future generations so richly deserve.  

With best regards,

Peter Tanous
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

February 13, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

As you all know, the Presidential Search Committee, with the help of a major consulting firm, Witt/Kieffer, is methodically and meticulously searching for a president to succeed me on October1, 2020. To that effect, said committee has completed a presidential profile that is already posted on our website.

Thank you.


November 26, 2018

Dear members of our LAU community,

I am writing to invite you to a meeting with Mr. Philip Stoltzfus, member of the Presidential Search Committee and 2 members of Witt/Kieffer International, Ms. Natalie Derry - General Manager, UK and Europe and Ms. Lucy A. Leske - Senior Partner, Higher Education Practice, who are visiting LAU from December 3 till 5, 2018. Witt/Kieffer International is an international executive search firm that LAU hired as a consultant to help the Presidential Search Committee find the next President who will succeed Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra.

The purpose of this visit is to get to know you and the University better and to seek your input and expectations regarding the next LAU President.

For more information about all the LAU constituencies they will be meeting with, please see the below schedule:

Monday, December 3, 2018

Beirut Campus
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Meeting with LAU President, Dr. Joseph Jabbra 
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Meeting with Faculty at BB 903 
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Meeting with Staff at BB 903
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Lunch with Students at the Faculty Lounge 
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.  Individual meetings with the VPs:
  • 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: Dr. Elise Salem, VP Student Development and Enrolment Management
  • 3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Mr. Roy Majdalani, VP for Administration
  • 4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.: Mr. Charles Abou Rjeily, VP Finance
  • 4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Dr. George Najjar, VP University Advancement
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  Visit to the Arab Institute for Women
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Meeting with the Steering Committee at LAU MC - RH (at St. Charles) 
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Meeting with Residents and Post-graduates at Auditorium D
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.  Meeting with Physicians at Auditorium D
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.  Meeting with Assistant to the President for Special Projects, Mr. Saad el Zein
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Byblos campus
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Meeting with Faculty at Science 607
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Meeting with Staff at Science 607
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Lunch with Students at Science 608
3:00 pm - 3:30 p.m. Meeting with LAU Provost, Dr. George Nasr


3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.  Meeting with Council of Deans at Jamil Iskandar Conference Room


Joseph G. Jabbra, Ph.D.,
Lebanese American University

November 8, 2018

Dear Members of the Lebanese American University Community,

I have now returned from my visit to Lebanon during which I had the opportunity to spend time on both of our beautiful campuses, and to meet and engage with many of you, including faculty, students, staff, and the Administration. I am inspired by the energy, dedication and passion demonstrated by all those I met, gratified by the sense that we are all embarked on a common mission, and thankful for the warm reception you gave me during my visit.

A major topic of discussion during my visit was the establishment of a Search Committee to find a successor to our beloved President, Dr. Joseph Jabbra, when he steps down at the end of September, 2020. I say “successor” because Dr. Jabbra can never be “replaced” - he has transformed Lebanese American University into a major power in the field of higher education in Lebanon, the Middle East and beyond. He has been President, mentor and friend to us all. The platform of excellence that he has built, and will add to over the remaining two years of his term, will be his legacy, and the framework from which his successor can bring LAU to new levels of achievement.

The most solemn duty of the Board of Trustees is to appoint the next Lebanese American University President, and I promise you that we will carry out this duty meticulously. The Search Committee has been appointed and has already met to begin developing a leadership profile and criteria for selection. We have chosen as our partner in this effort the executive search firm, Witt/Kieffer International, to assist us in the process. Representatives from Witt/Kieffer International will be in Beirut in early December to meet with LAU constituents to gather input regarding LAU’s strengths, the opportunities and challenges facing the next president, and the qualities, credentials and experience the next president should demonstrate to attain our expectations.

On behalf of the Search Committee, I would like to thank all members of the Lebanese American University community in advance for your interest in and support of the search process. We are committed to ensuring the search process is as thoughtful, wide-reaching, and rigorous as possible with outstanding results. As Board and Search Committee Chair, I will endeavor to ensure that the LAU community receives regular updates and communication as the search progresses. We have launched a presidential search page on the LAU web-site where you can find out more. We also encourage you to contact our consultants, Lucy Leske and Natalie Derry of Witt/Kieffer International, at the following address if you have any questions or suggestions of potential candidates:

As we begin our work, I am confident our collective efforts will result in a talented pool of candidates and the selection of a president well equipped to lead the university successfully into the future.



Peter Tanous
Chairman of the Board

September 10, 2018

Dear Members of the Lebanese American University Community,

Today Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra informed the Board of Trustees that he has decided, for family reasons, to retire when his term of office ends September 30, 2020, and that he will not accept reappointment. The Board of Trustees has accepted his decision, while expressing tremendous gratitude for his many years of exemplary service as President of our University.

Dr. Jabbra has been a transformative figure in the history of Lebanese American University. Under his leadership the student body has grown to 8,500 students taught by 813 faculty members across 57 degree programs. He has raised academic standards resulting in the accreditation of the University by NECHE, and accreditations for the Schools of Engineering, Business, Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Computer Science Program in the School of Arts and Sciences. The Architecture Program in the School of Architecture and Design, and the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine are well advanced in their drive to earn accreditation. He has overseen the establishment of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, the acquisition of the LAU Medical Centre - Rizk Hospital, major building projects, the significant expansion of both the Beirut and Byblos campuses, and the acquisition and development of the LAU New York Headquarters and Academic Center. He has lead record-breaking fundraising campaigns that have seen the University endowment grow to over $500 million, enabling LAU to triple its financial aid. Through his tireless campaigning on behalf of our University, he has helped establish LAU as a national and international force in education, while ensuring that we are at heart a student centred institution where young men and women can grow in a nurturing and supportive environment. Above all, he has done so with self-less wisdom, kindness, fairness, and compassion.

The Board now faces the task of finding a worthy successor who can build on the great work of the last 14 years. We shall do so through a transparent, consultative process. A search committee has been formed, consisting of Board members together with faculty and alumni representatives. The committee will appoint an international search consultant to ensure we can access the deepest pool of candidates possible across the world. Further information on the process will soon be posted on the LAU website, together with periodic updates. The incoming Chairman of the Board, Mr. Peter Tanous, will visit Beirut and Byblos in the Autumn to explain the search process and seek the views of all the LAU stakeholders.

Change is essential for the transformation and renewal of any university. The founders of LAU were pioneers who embraced change, who saw the opportunity that resides in change, and set into motion a process that has resulted in an institution that would have been unimaginable to them. And each subsequent generation of leaders at LAU has embraced change and triumphed, raising LAU to higher and higher standards. LAU now has the opportunity to bring itself to a new level on the platform of excellence that is Dr. Jabbra’s legacy, so that we can continue to provide future generations of students with an education that enables them to achieve their highest aspirations. I promise you that with the help and support of the LAU community, we will find the world class leader that our University deserves and expects.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Stoltzfus
Chairman of the Board