LAU’s Inaugural School of Arts and Sciences Awards Recognize Success

SoAS held its first awards ceremony to honor its faculty, alumni, staff and students for their contributions to education and scholarly pursuits.

By Luther J. Kanso

The ceremony recognized the efforts and dedication of SoAS faculty, staff and students toward education and the common good.
Dr. Sama Sleiman thanked the school community for their meticulous service, excellence and innovation.
Dr. Harmanani expressed his admiration for the multidisciplinary efforts the school has cultivated in the arts, humanities and sciences throughout the years.
The event also celebrated how the SoAS education has shaped its graduates and equipped them with the skills necessary to excel in their fields.

Among all the celebrations for LAU’s Centennial Year, the School of Arts and Sciences (SoAS) held its inaugural SoAS Awards Ceremony on June 21 at the Irwin Hall Auditorium to recognize the individual and collective accomplishments of its faculty, alumni, staff and students.

The ceremony highlighted the values and mission of the SoAS community in educating students, advancing scholarly inquiry, and contributing to the common good by acknowledging the tireless efforts of faculty members who have pushed the boundaries of knowledge, the dedication of staff who support the school’s daily operations, and the achievements of students who continuously strive for academic excellence.

The event also honored alumni who have carried the school’s principles and education into their professional lives and made significant impacts in their respective fields.

Emceeing the event, Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Natural Sciences Department Sama Sleiman extended her heartfelt gratitude as chair of the Awards Ad Hoc Committee “to the members of the school not only for their service but also for their meticulous effort, excellence, innovation, and dedication that defines our school,” she said.

By acknowledging these accomplishments, the ceremony also served as an inspiration for future endeavors, reminding all attendees of their role in advancing the school’s mission in education and research.

“The School of Arts and Sciences is more than a base of learning; it’s a vibrant hub of creativity,” said Interim Dean Haidar Harmanani. “Here, ideas are born, boundaries are pushed, and dreams are realized.”

He expressed his admiration for the multidisciplinary efforts the school has cultivated in the arts, humanities and sciences throughout the years.

“Our community embodies the spirit of exploration and discovery as a part of education,” Dr. Harmanani added. “This, of course, would not have been possible without the guidance and mentorship of SoAS’ members helping empower generations of students to reach their full potential.”

Following the speeches, Dr. Harmanani and Dr. Sleiman proceeded to present the awards to the respective honorees.

The Faculty Awards highlighted the pivotal role that faculty members played in promoting scholarly excellence and encouraging innovative practices in education.

The Distinguished Achievement Award was presented to associate professors Hussein Hassan and Sleiman El Hajj for their substantial impacts through teaching, research, and service in shaping the educational landscape of the school, and the Distinguished Service Award to Associate Professor Samer Habre for his dedication and exemplary service in showcasing the importance of commitment and leadership.
Dr. Samer Habre (L) and Dr. Hussein Hassan (R) with Dr. Haidar Harmanani

The Alumni Awards celebrated how the SoAS education has fundamentally shaped its graduates and equipped them with the skills, knowledge and values necessary to navigate and excel in their respective fields. They highlight the far-reaching influence and possibilities made tangible by SoAS to current students and recent graduates.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Vice President of Strategic Programs for Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Linux Foundation Ibrahim Haddad (BS ’96; MS ’98), Founder and CEO of Infinite Roots Mazen Rizk (BS ’07; MS ’09), and News Anchor at MTV Lebanon Nawal Berry (MA ’20) in recognition of their successes and contributions to their profession.

Recognizing the school’s staff members, the Outstanding Service Award went to Principal Academic Assistant Hanan Naccache and Senior Performing Arts Theater Manager Hala Masri for their service and commitment to the school’s mission.
Hanan Naccache (L) and Hala Masri (R) with Dr. Haidar Harmanani

Lastly, SoAS students were awarded for their intellectual curiosity, academic performance, and dedication to research.

  • The Excellence Research Award was presented to MS in Biological Sciences student Maria Younes (BS ’20) for her contributions as a primary author on a top 15 percent publication.
  • The Platinum Recognition Award went to Maria Younes, MS in Nutrition student Dayana El Chaar (BS ’18), Nutrition graduates Nour Kalash (MS ’21), and Hana Harb (MS ’21) for their contributions as primary authors in Q1 journals.
  • The Gold Recognition Award was presented to Biological Sciences graduate Hassan Diab (MS ’21), BS in Biology student Guy Nafeh, and Nutrition graduate Batoul Manana (MS ’22) for their contributions as primary authors in Q2 journals.
  • The Silver Recognition Award was presented to Nour Kalash, Nutrition graduates Nour Hassan (BS ’23), Haneen Bou Ghanem (MS ’22), Ghina Abdul Reda (MS ‘22)Dana Malli (MS ’21), and Yara Rizk (BS ’20), Biology graduates Christina Al Ahmadieh (BS ’23) and Maria Abi Akl (BS ’23), BS in Nutrition and Dietetics student Zeina Mohanna, BS in Biology student Jad Samarani, and BS in Nutrition and Dietetics Coordinated Program (CP) student Hadeel Tashani for their authorship in Q1 or Q2 journals.