To New Beginnings

LAU honors the Class of 2021 and delivers a message of hope to the country.

By Raissa Batakji

“We are the medium, but you are the message – one that is forceful, clear, and uncompromising,” said President Mawad, addressing the class of 2021.

Considering the ongoing health risks imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, LAU President Michel E. Mawad conferred degrees upon the graduating class of 2021 virtually, in the presence of vice presidents, provost and deans.

Addressing the 2,122 graduates and their families, Dr. Mawad underlined the university’s firm belief in the Lebanese youth. “You are the most powerful force behind Lebanon’s refusal to cave in to adversity. You are the country’s source of energy needed for restoring the derailed surge into the future,” he said, adding: “We are the medium, but you are the message – one that is forceful, clear, and uncompromising. To have had part in forging this message is LAU’s sacred mission and highest honor.”

While acknowledging the challenges that the graduates have faced and will be facing as they “cross the gate into a world that has changed dramatically whether within Lebanon or abroad,” Dr. Mawad exhorted them to adhere to the values upheld by LAU: humanity and commitment. “Go out there and build a good life for yourself and as you do so, make life better for everyone around you,” he said. “It is only when you make life better for others and only then that you will make us proud.” 

LAU Class of 2021 Award Recipients

Having received the highest cumulative GPA on their respective campuses, three students were named class valedictorians: Tatiana Akl on Byblos campus (School of Arts and Sciences), Hussein Kaafarani (Adnan Kassar School of Business) and Saadat El Khatib (School of Arts and Sciences) on Beirut Campus.

Students who graduated with high distinction and had demonstrated high-caliber leadership traits received the President’s Award and were named as follows: Michel Bassil (Adnan Kassar School of Business), Soumar Alkamand (School of Architecture and Design), Theresa Kahale (School of Engineering), Daniella Abi Kheir (School of Pharmacy), Thuraya Hamieh (Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing), Hadil Deeb (School of Arts and Sciences), Racha Cheaito (School of Architecture and Design), and Sari El Habr (Adnan Kassar School of Business).

Graduates who were recognized with the Torch Award for great leadership and service spirit were Joy El Hajaly (School of Arts and Sciences), Maryse Abi Haidar (Adnan Kassar School of Business), Vanessa Abou Harb (School of Architecture and Design), Marc Bou Antoun (School of Engineering), Hadil Mdaihly (School of Pharmacy), Salma Yassine (School of Arts and Sciences), and Nathalie Chatila (Adnan Kassar School of Business).

Maria El Mendelek (School of Engineering) and Noor Tofailli (School of Arts and Sciences) each received the Rhoda Orme Award, in recognition of their dedication and service to others.

Racha Doumit (School of Engineering) and Lara Baz (Adnan Kassar School of Business) each received the Riyad Nassar Leadership award, in celebration of their exemplary leadership skills and good academic standing.

Elio Gereige received the Charbel Khairallah Endowed Award of Excellence in Engineering, in memory of the late engineering student.

LAU intends to hold in-person commencement ceremonies next year for the classes of 2020 and 2021 if the health situation permits it.