Tuesday 23 Apr 2024 - 12:00

02:24 pm


Lebanese American University launches its centennial year

Mawad: “We look forward to 100 new years and keeping pace with human civilization.” 

NNA - On 26 January 2024, the President of the Lebanese American University (LAU) Michel E. Mawad marked the launch of its centennial, affirming the university’s resolve to survive. “We are confident that humanity will prevail, and that the Lebanese people, who have shown resilience time and again, will rise from the ashes of crises in their quest for a better future. A future in which science, creativity, and university education are the pillars of human civilization,” he said.

Dr. Mawad made the announcement at a press conference on the LAU Beirut campus that was attended by Beirut, Byblos and Keserwan deputies, vice presidents, deans, faculty, staff and media representatives. The president reflected on LAU’s history since its inception in 1924 as the American Junior College for Women with the avant-garde mission to educate women in the Eastern Mediterranean and dedicated to innovating, empowering and ever-giving to humanity, to become known as the Beirut College for Women (BCW) in 1949, then the co-educational Beirut University College (BUC) in 1973, and finally the Lebanese American University in 1994. 

Dr. Mawad pointed to the university’s expansion in 1991 with the opening of the Byblos campus, which gradually developed into one of the most advanced university centers in healthcare, arts, sciences, engineering, architecture and design majors, among others. 
The university was one of the first to launch several programs, such as pharmacy, fashion design, petrochemical engineering, mechatronics engineering and communication arts, among others. Dr. Mawad added that beyond its academic offering, the university has 23 institutions and centers, including the Arab Institute for Women, the Center for Lebanese Heritage, the Institute for Migration Studies and the Institute of Media Research and Training.

The president underscored the university’s plans to become a scientific and industrial hub thanks to several of its research centers including the Pharmaceutical Research Center, the LAU Industrial Hub, and the Genetic Research Laboratory––all recent additions to the Byblos campus, thanks to the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)–– as well as the Fouad Makhzoumi Innovation Center and the Center for Innovative Learning. In recent years, LAU has embarked on dozens of projects and agreements with the public and private sectors nationally, regionally and internationally, partnering with major universities, companies and international institutions, most notably the United Nations.

Dr. Mawad noted that LAU bears a Lebanese-American identity with an outlook to serve Lebanon, the Arab World and the Middle East. Tens of thousands of its alumni contribute to the advancement of societies around the world. He asserted LAU's determination to retain its place among the world’s top universities, as attested by the ranking results it has achieved nationally and regionally, and that it is one of the few universities in the world whose schools and programs are fully accredited by American accreditation bodies.

The university’s identity and American origins have helped spread and disseminate the values of justice, freedom and equality, and combine Lebanese heritage and quality American education. This is particularly evident in the establishment of the LAU New York headquarters and academic center in 2013. 

Dr. Mawad also stressed the university's pride in contributing to advancing, empowering and serving its community. LAU took the initiative in 2009 to launch the LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital, which has become a leading center for healthcare, medical education, and research. In 2021, at the height of the economic crisis, the LAU Medical Center–Saint John’s Hospital was inaugurated as one of the largest university medical centers in Mount Lebanon. He explained how these centers and their medical staff have stood by the Lebanese through crises, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Port of Beirut explosion, touching on the wide-ranging help that the university received, especially from USAID. 

Dr. Mawad also highlighted the impressive ranking results that the university has achieved in recent years. In 2023, LAU tied for the No. 1 position in Lebanon in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024 and led nationally in research quality—a testament to deliberate efforts that LAU has invested in recent years. LAU also ranked first in Lebanon in terms of scientific citations and research, and some of its faculty members were listed among the top 2% scientists in the world. 

Dr. Mawad also talked about the university's commitment to help students fund their education, with the support of philanthropists, LAU friends and alumni, to provide financial assistance to 80 percent of the student body. Over 2022 and 2023, financial aid exceeded 200 million US dollars, and 40 percent of students are first-generation university students in their families. He touched on the socio-economic impact of the university, as more than 2,000 families of physicians, faculty and staff work in the university's academic and health institutions.  

Dr. Mawad concluded by affirming that the university is looking forward to the next 100 years of development, keeping pace with the world and providing a first-class education to men and women.  He pointed to plans for expansion at several levels in the near future, to immediate and distant surroundings, while upholding the belief that peace, culture, scientific advancement and sustainable development go hand-in-hand with the role of the university in seeking, finding and realizing solutions.

At the end of the press conference, Dr. Mawad highlighted upcoming activities that will mark LAU’s centennial year, including wide-ranging academic, research, media and social activities such as a documentary, a performance by the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, special commencement exercises, and alumni and donor-recognition events. -- LAU


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