LAU President Confers Degrees Upon the Class of 2020

In an emotional online address, Dr. Jabbra touches on the crisis in Lebanon and offers valuable parting advice.

By Raissa Batakji

The president assured the graduates that LAU will always be there for them as “a shining tower of higher learning, an inspiring island of hope and an inexhaustible source of support and encouragement.”

Although LAU hopes to hold an in-person graduation ceremony once health warnings are lifted, LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra was adamant to convey his heartfelt message online to the LAU Class of 2020.

In an address broadcast on Sunday, July 12, Dr. Jabbra conferred the degrees upon more than 2,000 graduates from both campuses for one final time before passing the torch this fall, following 16 years of service to LAU.

Touching on the “serious and pervasive circumstances that are threatening the overwhelming majority of the Lebanese and the very existence of our country,” the president urged the graduates not to despair, to stay and fight for a better Lebanon and create career opportunities.

“Lebanon needs your refreshing youth and noble aspirations – it needs your strong commitment and burning passion to reform itself,” he declared, calling on the graduates to “actively participate in creating a new Lebanon that is free of devastating dissension, divisive discrimination, destructive fanaticism, damaging gender inequality and criminal corruption.”

He went on to congratulate them for having earned their rite of passage, and thanked them for significantly contributing to LAU’s academic programs, enriching its student life, animating the diverse clubs and giving vitality to its simulation programs. “You will be our amazing ambassadors to the world and have access to a powerful network of 43 alumni chapters the world over,” noted Dr. Jabbra.

LAU Class of 2020 Award Recipients

Three students with the highest Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) were announced campus valedictorians: Jana El Jalbout on Byblos campus (all schools), Wassim Khatoun (School of Arts and Sciences) and Zahraa Berjawi (Adnan Kassar School of Business) on Beirut campus.

Recipients of the President’s Award, granted to students who demonstrated high-caliber leadership traits, were Christelle Barakat (School of Arts and Sciences – Byblos), Wendy El Hage (Adnan Kassar School of Business – Byblos); Rihab Soukkarieh (School of Architecture and Design – Byblos); Joelle El Sayegh (School of Engineering – Byblos); Katia El Harake (School of Pharmacy – Byblos); Meghety Gudeshian (Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing – Byblos), Gheya El Assaad (School of Arts and Sciences – Beirut); Zeina Darwich (School of Architecture and Design – Beirut) and Joelle El Batal (Adnan Kassar School of Business – Beirut).

The Torch Award for high leadership and service spirit was bestowed on Rhea Wakim (School of Arts and Sciences – Byblos); Jude Darwich (Adnan Kassar School of Business – Byblos); Georges Eid (School of Architecture and Design – Byblos); Johnny Awad (School of Engineering – Byblos), Gaelle Matar (School of Pharmacy – Byblos); Lyn Ghalayini (Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing – Byblos); Rawad Taha (School of Arts and Sciences – Beirut); Mohammad Charafeddine (School of Architecture and Design – Beirut) and Yara Tayeh (Adnan Kassar School of Business – Beirut).

Named after the late LAU president, the Rhoda Orme Award was presented to two female students who demonstrated dedication and service to others: Rhea Wakim (School of Arts and Sciences – Byblos) and Jana Berro (School of Arts and Sciences – Beirut).

Named in memory of the late LAU engineering student, the Charbel Khairallah Endowed Award of Excellence in Engineering was given to Joseph Chakar.

The Riyad Nassar Leadership Award, named in honor of LAU’s former president, was presented to two students who demonstrated exemplary leadership skills while maintaining good academic standing: Gaelle Matar (School of Pharmacy – Byblos) and Fatima Akhdar (School of Arts and Sciences – Beirut).