Navigate through the website that showcases people and pivotal moments marking AUB history from 1866 to 2016
Our 150th anniversary slogan is We Make History; we honor AUB History Makers through the ages
Elie Salem

Elie Salem

Writer, Academic Leader
  • Virtuoso Artists and Writers
  • 1950
  • 1955-1990 as professor of political studies and public administration, chair, and dean at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • AUB, BA Political Studies 1950
Elie Salem was a professor at AUB, chair of AUB’s Department of Political Studies and Public Administration, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Lebanese foreign minister. He is currently is president of Balamand University in the north of Lebanon. He has published on topics as diverse as the scholarly Violence and Diplomacy in Lebanon (1995) and the very personal My American Bride (2008) in which he examines the complexity of both his wife’s and his own cross-cultural experiences. Having studied in the US before coming to AUB, then leaving to teach at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, Salem told a student audience at Balamand in 2007 that “the university is an inquisitive institution where one comes not just to get a degree, but it’s a place where you will decide what and who you’ll be,” going on to explain that Socrates “was absolutely right when he said that the unexamined life is not worth living.”
Ali Akbar Salehi

Ali Akbar Salehi

Physicist, politician
  • Activists and Public Servants
  • 1971
  • AUB, BS Physics 1971; MIT, PhD Nuclear Engineering 1977
Ali Akbar Salehi is an Iranian academic, diplomat and the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). He served as head of AEOI from 2009 to 2010 and was appointed to the post for a second time on August 16, 2013. Before his appointment of his current position, he was the foreign affairs minister of Iran from 2010 to 2013 as well as the Iranian representative in the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1998 to 2003. Dr. Salehi was the head delegate for negotiation with the United States on atomic energy development within Iran. He earned a bachelor's in physics from AUB in 1971 and a PhD in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977.
Khalil Saleeby

Khalil Saleeby

Founder of Modern Lebanese Art
  • Virtuoso Artists and Writers
  • 1928
Khalil Saleeby, considered the founder of modern Lebanese art, studied, worked, and exhibited in Edinburgh, Paris, and the United States where he became acquainted with and was influenced by John Singer Sargent, Pierre de Chavannes, and Pierre Auguste Renoir. After returning to Beirut, he opened a studio directly opposite the entrance to AUB on Bliss Street, making a reputation for himself as a portraitist, but also creating a body of work including landscapes, nudes, and genre scenes that are representative of the transition from nineteenth-century academic art to twentieth-century modernism. To honor his work, in 2012 the Rose and Sheheen Saleeby Collection—a bequest to the University from Dr. Samir Saleeby, a relative of the painter—was unveiled in a new AUB gallery. The artist and his wife (and muse) were murdered over a dispute with neighbors about water access on his property in the mountains.
Riad Salameh

Riad Salameh

Banker, Economist
  • Leaders in Business
  • 1973
  • AUB, BS Economics 1973
Riad T. Salameh is a Lebanese banker and has served as governor of the Banque du Liban since August 1, 1993. In this capacity, Salameh is the governor for Lebanon at the International Monetary Fund and the Arab Monetary Fund. He chairs the Central Council, the governing board of the bank, as well as the Open Market and Investment Committees. Salameh is also chairman of the Higher Banking Commission, chairman of the Special Investigation Commission fighting money laundering since its establishment in 2001, and chairman of the Capital Markets Authority. Salameh received numerous awards including an Honorary Sash and a Shield Award from the Hariri Canadian University, Lebanon, in May 2011; the Doctorate Honoris Causa in Human Letters by the Lebanese University in May 2010; the Officer of the Legion of Honor bestowed on him by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in December 2009, as well numerous others.
Selwa Makarem

Selwa Makarem

Award-winning Nursing School Leader
  • University Founders and Leaders
  • 1958
  • 1962-76, 1993-2003, 2008 - present as director of the School of Nursing and professor emeritus of Nursing
  • AUB, BSN 1985
Selwa Makarem was from a conservative family that discouraged her interest in nursing based, in part, on her post-polio physical challenges. Overcoming these obstacles provided the foundation for her remarkably long and impressive list of achievements, which included winning AUB’s prestigious Florence Nightingale award in 1958, supervising the Medical Department from 1962-68, and revitalizing the School of Nursing as director from 1993-2003. After earning her advanced degrees in the United States and achieving tenure at California State University, Makarem returned to AUB as director of the School of Nursing in 1993. Following the civil war, the school needed rehabilitation, and Makarem instituted a five-year plan to revamp the school’s structure and policies, introduce new technologies, develop the faculty and staff, re-register with the New York State Education Department, and restore the school’s regional and international reputation by enhancing faculty and academic development and introducing a strong continuing education program. Through the World Health Organization, Makarem helped to establish the Lebanese Order of Nurses. She graduated with a master's from Boston University School of Nursing and earned a EdD in nursing curriculum and instruction from Teacher's College at Columbia University. She received the President Waterbury award on October 7, 2002, recognizing her as one of AUB’s female leaders.
Raja Najib Khuri

Raja Najib Khuri

Biomedical Researcher, Medical Dean
  • University Founders and Leaders
  • 1955
  • AUB, BS General 1955; AUB, MD 1959
Raja N. Khuri served as dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1979-87, with the exception of the year 1984 when he was acting president of AUB. He was a research fellow in biophysicis at Harvard Medical School before returning to AUB to teach, becoming chair of Physiology Department in 1967, and a full professor in 1974. Known as a brilliant man, Khuri received the Penrose Award twice, he was a pioneering renal physiologist who performed groundbreaking research, and a dedicated teacher who infused his students with optimism and humanitarian values during challenging times in Lebanon. Dr. Khuri is the father of AUB’s 16th president, Dr. Fadlo Raja Khuri.
Said Khoury

Said Khoury

CCC Founder, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
  • Innovative Engineers and Scientists
  • 2007
Said Tawfiq Khoury was a prominent entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was one of the three founders of Consolidated Contractors Company, based in Athens. Khoury has dedicated much of his time to the Bethlehem Development Foundation, which aims to rejuvenate the birthplace of Jesus Christ Bethlehem in Palestine. Said Khoury held a Legion of Merit from the president of Lebanon and a Legion of Unity from the president of the Republic of Yemen. He received many other medals of merit and honor from different parts of the world. Said has sponsored the establishment of the Said Khoury Information Technology Center of Excellence at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis. Khoury received the HCEF Palestinian Diaspora Award given to individuals who have sustained commitment to revitalize Palestinian culture. He recieved an honorary doctorate from AUB in 2006.
Angela (Jurdak) Khoury

Angela (Jurdak) Khoury

First Woman Instructor
  • Great Scholars and Teachers
  • 1938
  • AUB, BA 1937; AUB, MA 1938; American University, PhD 1938
Angela Jurdak Khoury was AUB's first female instructor, teaching sociology. The daughter of noted mathematician and astronomer Mansur Hanna Jurdak (BA 1901, MA 1907), and the mother of AUB Chairman Philip S. Khoury, Dr. Khoury was Lebanon's first female diplomat. In 1945 she was appointed secretary-general of Lebanon's delegation to the UN Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. She was consul of Lebanon in New York and Lebanon's representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. In 1959 Dr. Khoury was awarded Lebanon's Order of the Cedar.
Ray R. Irani

Ray R. Irani

Enterpreneur
  • Leaders in Business
  • 1953
  • 1986 to present as trustee
  • AUB, BS Chemistry 1953; AUB, DHL 2013; University of Southern California, PhD 1957
Chairman emeritus of AUB’s Board of Trustees since 2013, and a trustee since 1986, Irani received an honorary doctorate from AUB in 2013. He is the former chairman and chief executive of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, which he joined in 1983. As CEO from 1990-2011, he built Occidental Petroleum to be the fourth largest oil and gas company in the United States, based on capitalization, with operations in North America, the Middle East/North Africa region, and Latin America. Prior to working for Occidental, he was the president, chief operating officer, and a director of Olin Corporation. Irani is a trustee of the University of Southern California, vice chairman of the American Task Force for Lebanon and an advisory board member of the Rand Center for Middle East Public Policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Chemists. In 1996, Irani was awarded the National Order of the Cedar Medal by the President of the Republic of Lebanon Elias Hrawi; in 2011, he was appointed Chevalier of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor.
George Helou

George Helou

Astrophysics Researcher
  • Innovative Engineers and Scientists
  • 1975
  • AUB, BS Physics 1975; Cornell University, MSc Astrophysics 1977; Cornell University, PhD Astrophysics 1980
George Helou is executive director of the Infared Processing and Analysis Center and a professor at California Institute of Technology. He is also director of the NASA Herschel Scinece Center and deputy director of the Spitzer Science Center. He divides his time between research in astrophysics and administration of science operations of NASA astronomy missions. After graduating from AUB with a bachelor’s in physics, he went on to earn his PhD in astrophysics and radio science from Cornell, before joining Caltech. He has published over two hundred articles in professional journals and proceedings, lectured globally, and received numerous honors and awards. His research centers on understanding galaxies. Of his inspiration, he says: “I was captivated by the stars at a tender age. Over the mountains of Lebanon the skies were dark, the stars intense, and the Milky Way mesmerizing.”
Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid

Renowned Architect
  • Visionary Architects and Designers
  • AUB, DHL 2006; former student 1968-69
Zaha Hadid designed AUB’s Issam Fares Institute building in 2014. Recognized as one of the world’s most innovative architects, Hadid was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004), the Museum Design of the Year Award (2014), and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal (2015). She studied mathematics at AUB before moving her studies to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. She received an honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) from AUB in 2006. In 2012, she was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Habib Haddad

Habib Haddad

Entrepreneur, Investor
  • Leaders in Business
  • 2002
  • AUB, BE Computer and Communications Engineering 2002
Habib Haddad is a serial entrepreneur and an early-stage investor. He is the co-founder and CEO of Wamda, a platform of programs and networks that aims to accelerate entrepreneurship ecosystems across the MENA region. He is also a venture partner of Wamda Capital, a growth capital VC fund. In addition to being a founding member of a number of startups and nonprofits, Habib is the founder of Yamli, the leading Arabic transliteration and smart search engine, and YallaStartup, one of the first support organizations for MENA entrepreneurs. He holds a research affiliate position at the MIT Media Lab where he focuses on the science behind building a community. He has won many awards including the MIT T35 award, AUB Distinguished Alumni award, Media Creativity award by the Arab Thought Foundation, and was nominated in 2009 as a "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum.
Ashraf Ghani

Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan President, Global Thinker
  • Activists and Public Servants
  • 1973
  • AUB, BA 1973; AUB, MA Political Studies 1977
Ashraf Ghani is president of Afghanistan. He is also the chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness, an organization set up in 2005 to promote the ability of states to serve their citizens. Before returning to Afghanistan in 2002, Ahmadzai was a leading scholar of political science and anthropology. He has worked at the World Bank for a number of years where he learned the tools of international development assistance. As finance minister of Afghanistan between July 2002 and December 2004, he set the path for Afghanistan's attempted economic recovery after the collapse of the Taliban. He is usually referred to as Ashraf Ghani, while Ahmadzai is the name of his Pashtun tribe. Dr. Ghani is also a member of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, an independent initiative hosted by the UNDP. In the 2009 presidential election, he was ranked fourth in the polls, behind the president Hamid Karzai, his main contender, Dr. Abdullah, and Ramazan Bashardost. In 2010 Foreign Policy Magazine placed him in its annual list of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers."
Faris El Khoury

Faris El Khoury

Politician, Philosopher
  • Activists and Public Servants
Faris Khoury, a Syrian statesman, minister, prime minister, and speaker of Parliament, is seen as one of the early founders of the modern Syrian state. Khoury began his career as an instructor at AUB, after graduating with his bachelor’s degree, and became involved in al-Fatat, the leading anti-Ottoman movement, after its creation in Paris in 1911. His involvement led him to become the Christian member of the Ottoman Parliament representing Damascus in 1908. Khoury served as prime minister of Syria from October 14, 1944, to October 1, 1945, and again from October 1954 to February 13, 1955. Koury's position as prime minister is the highest political position a Syrian Christian has reached.
Richard A. Debs

Richard A. Debs

Financial leader, Pivotal Board Chair
  • Leaders in Business
  • 2003
  • Colgate University, BA 1952; Cairo University, post graduate studies 1953; Harvard University, LLB 1958; Princeton University, MA 1956; Princeton University, PhD 1963; Harvard Business School, Advanced Management Program 1973
Richard A. Debs is an advisory director of Morgan Stanley, the vice chairman and member of the executive committee of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council; a former president of Morgan Stanley International; a former COO of the Federal Reserve Bank, New York; an emeritus member of the Group of 3; a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and of the Institute of International Education; chairman emeritus of Carnegie Hall, and a member of the Fulbright Association. He is the author of Islamic Law and Civil Code (2010, Columbia University Press). In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from AUB. He was the primary force behind the construction of AUB’s New York Office, the Deb’s Center, a state-of-the-art video-conferencing facility located at 3 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Named in his honor, the Center houses the University’s Executive and Advancement Offices and hosts University lectures, conferences, events, and meetings. He has been an AUB trustee since 1976 and chaired the board from 1994 to 2005.
Mary Bliss Dale

Mary Bliss Dale

Nursing School Founder
  • Pioneers in Health
  • 1905
  • 1905-1941 as co-founder and leader of AUB's Nursing School
  • Vassar College, BA 1913
Mary Bliss Dale was the daughter of Daniel Bliss and sister of AUB/SPC President Howard Bliss, and founded the School of Nursing in 1905 with Jane Van Zandt (1902, Margaret Fahnestock Training School for Nurses, New York Post-Graduate Medical School and Hospital), as director. In 1918 Dale became the superintendent of SPC’s Nurses' Training School, and in 1923, superintendent of the hospital. Van Zandt served as director of nursing school until 1932 and continued as an advisor until 1941.
Ayah Bdeir

Ayah Bdeir

Entrepreneur
  • Leaders in Business
  • 2004
  • AUB, BE Computer and Communications Engineering 2004; MIT, MS 2011
Founder and CEO of littleBits, an open source library of modular electronics that snap together with magnets, Bdeir is considered one of the leaders of the Maker Movement and Open Hardware Movement and a proponent of an open Internet of Things. She was named to Fast Company's list of "Most Creative People in Business" (2013), Entrepreneur magazine's "10 Up and Coming Leaders to Watch" (2014), and Popular Mechanics' "25 Makers Who are Reinventing the American Dream" (2014). Bdeir was named a 2010 Creative Commons fellow for her work in defining Open Hardware and for co-founding the Open Hardware Summits of 2010 and 2011. She is an MIT Media Lab alum and a TED senior fellow.
Ghada Al-Samman

Ghada Al-Samman

Prominent Modern Arab Writer
  • Virtuoso Artists and Writers
  • 1965
  • Damascus University, BA English literature 1963; AUB, MA Theater 1965
Ghada Al-Samman is a Syrian writer, journalist, and novelist. She published her first book of short stories, "Your Eyes are my Destiny,” in 1962. She graduated from Damascus University in 1963 with a BA in English literature, but since then has not returned to Damascus. She earned her master's in theatre from AUB. Over the years, Al-Samman has worked in journalism in Beirut and Europe, publishing a succession of short story collections, articles, and novels. She published her first novel, “Beirut 75” around the end of 1974, in which she describes the city’s complex social problems. After the publication of two more novels, “Beirut Nightmares" in 1977, which describes life in civil-war-torn Beirut in the mid-1970s, and “The Eve of Billion” in 1986, she was referred to as the most prominent modern Arab writer by some critics.