American Univesity of Beirut

AUB’s University Medals 2022 to be conferred on Samir Tabet, Ali Ghandour, and Makhlouf Haddadin

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communications, communications@aub.edu.lb​​​​

The American University of Beirut (AUB) is proud to announce that the University Medal, AUB's most prestigious recognition, will be conferred this year on three remarkable recipients: Professor Samir Tabet, Trustee Emeritus Ali Ghandour, and Professor Makhlouf Haddadin, in recognition of their extraordinary contributions and achievements.

AUB's University Medal was created by the Board of Trustees​ in the spring of 1990 to be awarded periodically by the vote of the board to selected individuals in the recognition of distinguished and meritorious service to the university. It is accompanied by a citation signed by the chairman of the board and the president of the university.

Previous recipients of the University Medal are Rafic B. Hariri (1990, 1998), Constantine Zurayk (1991), Samir Makdisi (1998), Raja N. Khuri (2000), Suliman Olayan (2000), George Mitchell (2002), Paul Volcker (2002), Richard A. Debs (2005), Kamal A. Shair (2007), Nicola N. Khuri (2009), Thomas Q. Morris (2009), Ann Z. Kerr-Adams (2010), Etel Adnan (2017), Maroun Semaan (2017), Huguette Caland (2017), Farouk K. Jabre (2018), and Myrna Bustani (2019).

Professor Samir Tabet

The first of this year's awardees, Professor Samir Tabet, AUB vice-president emeritus, former acting president, and accomplished academic and artist, will receive the University Medal during a ceremony taking place in July 2022 at AUB's Marquand House.

Professor Samir Tabet's long and distinguished career at AUB was marked by many years of service in administration, several of them during the most difficult years of civil strife, some of the darkest days for the AUB campus. Dr. Tabet served on numerous committees and the University Senate. He was chair of the Chemistry Department, and between 1969 and 1984, he was associate dean of the university's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, university provost and vice president, vice president for academic affairs, and acting president during the troubled months following the assassination of AUB President Malcolm Kerr.

Professor Tabet published throughout his academic career a large number of articles in internationally refereed journals. Extraordinarily versatile, Tabet has served as president of the Beirut Rotary Club (1981) and as cultural advisor to the president of the republic (1987). A broadly cultivated man, he also took up the presidency of the Society of the Friends of the AUB Museum. Moving regularly between Paris and Lebanon, Dr. Tabet ardently pursues his life-long calling, painting. He is a fellow of the Paris Salon, and has held in both Paris and Beirut numerous exhibitions, with proceeds that were donated to scholarship funds for students.

Trustee Emeritus Ali Ghandour

In September 2022, the second University Medal for the year will be offered to the family of the late business leader and former AUB trustee Ali Ghandour who passed away in 2020. A devoted supporter of AUB, Ghandour served as trustee (1979-2008) and was named trustee emeritus in 2008. He started his career in 1954 as engineer and then head of aviation safety at the Lebanese Civil Aviation Authority. He then worked for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in Kuwait. In 1963, he co-founded the Royal Jordanian Airways, Alia at the time, and became its chairman and president. He had also been involved in the founding of several airlines and organizations, namely: Royal Wings and Arab Wings (Jordan), Arab Air Cargo, the Royal Jordanian Academy of Aeronautics in Amman, Arab Wings Amman, the Royal Jordanian Falcons, and Sierra Leone Airline, and was a board member of Jet Airways, India.

Ghandour was an advisor to His Majesty the late King Hussein of Jordan on civil aviation, civil air transport, and tourism. He served on the boards of multiple corporations and universities including ARAM International Investments, Jordan Tourism Resorts Company, and Georgetown University. In 1982, Ghandour co-founded Aramex, Jordan, of which he was a former director. He served as president of ARAM Trading and Technology and as co-chairman of Aviation Pioneers and Consultants in Lebanon. He received numerous awards in his lifetime, and has been ssociated with several charitable organizations. Ghandour was a philanthropic donor who supported educational, humanitarian, and cultural causes, and he was one of AUB's major supporters.

Professor Makhlouf Haddadin

On October 7, 2022, Professor Makhlouf Haddadin, Jordanian innovator in organic chemistry, will receive the third University Medial for the year. He received his BS in chemistry from AUB in 1957 after he had joined the university on a full scholarship. He received his MSc in 1959, also at AUB, and then moved to the University of Colorado to receive his PhD in organic chemistry by 1962.

He worked as a postdoctoral research fellow and tutor at Harvard University, and later as research associate and visiting professor and scholar at the University of Colorado, University of Notre Dame, and the University of California at Davis. The rest of his time, from 1964, was well spent at AUB, for alongside his teaching role, he started as a research associate, and became assistant professor, professor, chairman of the Department of Chemistry, acting dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, vice-president for academic affairs, acting deputy president, acting dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, acting president over different periods in 1998, 1999, and 2015, acting chief operations officer, and lastly senior advisor to the president from 2015 until his retirement in 2022. Professor Haddadin taught undergraduate chemistry courses from 1965 at different universities in the United States as well as AUB. In addition, he taught graduate organic chemistry courses and gave research seminars at universities in the US and the Middle East.

Professor Makhlouf Haddadin has been especially celebrated for his achievements in the field of heterocyclic chemistry that resulted in the publication of more than 100 scholarly papers in prestigious international journals. A significant event in Professor Haddadin's career was his co-discovery with Costas Issidorides of the Beirut Reaction – a reaction that impacted the field of pharmaceutical chemistry and yielded 40 patents in numerous countries. Professor Haddadin and Distinguished Professor Mark J. Kurth of the University of California at Davis discovered another reaction, called the “Davis- Beirut Reaction."

He is the recipient of many academic honors, has numerous peer reviewed publications in international journals, and holds many patents worldwide with the late Issidorides for the Beirut Reaction. Haddadin is a member of several professional societies, such as the American Chemical Society and the Advisory Board of the journal Archives of Organic Chemistry. He is also chairman of numerous academic, administrative, and research committees and boards.

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