In Memoriam: Dr. George N. Faris

LAU honors a longtime member of its family who was dedicated to making a first-class higher education accessible to deserving students in financial need.

By Dana K. Haffar

Dr. Faris once described LAU as “an oasis in a troubled part of the world and a treasure that we all must work diligently to protect.”

The LAU community mourns the passing of a dear friend, former Chair of the LAU Board of Trustees and donor, Dr. George N. Faris, in New York.

Dr. Faris served LAU for close to 25 years as a member of the Board of Overseers, chair of the Board of International Advisors, and member/vice chair and chair of the Board of Trustees.

He was a great believer in the importance of higher education in fostering understanding, tolerance, fairness and open-mindedness among people of diverse backgrounds.

As chair and member of the Board of Trustees, he supported LAU in its mission to make a first-class American education affordable to all deserving students in Lebanon, because, he once said “the future of our world depended primarily on our youth.” To make that possible, he worked with the board to increase the financial assistance available to students with limited means.

For years, he and his wife Claudia (née Moujaes), who graduated from Beirut College for Women (BCW) in 1959 – as LAU was known back then – gave generously to the university and remained committed to LAU’s growth and its students’ welfare. A philanthropist in her own right, Mrs. Faris has served on the boards of the National Stroke Association and the Children to Children Foundation, among others.  

Dr. Faris once described LAU as “an oasis in a troubled part of the world and a treasure that we all must work diligently to protect,” and maintained that LAU students and alumni are very fortunate to be a part of the LAU family because of the qualities of principle and commitment that the university provides – attributes that will stay with them for life.

An accomplished entrepreneur, Dr. Faris was chair and CEO of several companies in the oil and gas industry and founder of the American International Petroleum Corp. and later the Faris Group, a family-owned investment firm. He invented the Rotary Heat Exchanger engine in the early 1970s.

He obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, US, in 1968, held two scientific patents, and authored numerous published scientific articles.

In a tribute to Dr. Faris, LAU President Michel E. Mawad said that “despite spending the better part of his career abroad, he remained invested in the future of Lebanese youth and Lebanon. We are eternally grateful for his most generous support and leadership during decades of service to our institution and beyond.”