The Architecture and Design Lecture Hall will undergo a major remodeling, thanks to the generosity of the Smadi family and their close friends and partners, his wife and AUB alumna Randa Smadi, and alumni Wafic Said, Bisher Azem, Sami Atallah, and Omar Sawaf, who all made a substantial donation on behalf of the late Hassan Smadi, an AUB mechanical engineering alumnus. The hall was dedicated in Smadi’s name during an official ceremony on December 16, 2014, at the Charles Hostler Auditorium.
“The donation will be used to remodel the Architecture Lecture Hall into a state-of-the-art auditorium for our faculty and students, and it will also help set up an endowed scholarship fund in Hassan’s name” said Faculty of Engineering and Architecture Dean Makram Suidan in his welcoming remarks at the ceremony.
Born in Syria, Hassan Smadi (1941-2013) graduated with a BE in mechanical engineering from FEA in 1963. He co-owned with Bisher Azem (class of 1962) and Sami Attalah (Class of 1977) and others the Orient Construction Company Ltd. Weavers (OCC Weavers). The company has been in operation in Saudi Arabia for over 30 years, specializing in the engineering execution and management of construction projects. He was also partner and board member of Sea View Properties and Construction, a real estate development company in Lebanon. In London he was also involved in building several landmarks.
Hassan Smadi was co-founder of Act for Lebanon, an NGO that supports student education through scholarships, as well as individuals or organizations promoting the cultural image of Lebanon. He was also an ardent supporter of the Makassed Hospital Cancer Center. He is survived by his wife Randa Fouad Al-Farra, (BA 1962 and MA 1965); his three children; Wael, Fares, and Nadine; and his two brothers and sister, Fayez, Bassem and Rajaa.
“Throughout his life and career, Hassan Smadi exemplified the values and ideals that we hold dear at AUB,” said President Peter Dorman. “AUB strives to give our students the skills they need to have fulfilling and productive careers, and to ensure they become engaged citizens, leaders in their communities, and models of ethical and humane behavior in their personal and professional lives.”
Hassan Smadi also embodied AUB’s motto “That they may have life and have it more abundantly,” living a full and enriching life as a successful entrepreneur, a discerning businessman, and an accomplished engineer, added Dorman.
“He recognized the importance of giving back to the communities and institutions that helped him along his own path,” Dorman said. “He was particularly fond of the French saying, “Avec de la patience on arrive a tout” (with patience, you can achieve anything) and this epitomizes the optimism and self-confidence that made him such an inspiration to those who knew him.”
Speaking on behalf of the Smadi family, Wael, Hassan Smadi’s son, said, “My father taught us that ‘the duty of every engineer is to aid another professional in his own field’… He was a strong advocate of scholarship and he would be proud of what has been established in his name today.”
Then it was the turn of the Smadi grandchildren to speak about their beloved “diddo” as he was affectionately known. Omar recalled visiting construction sites with him and the lasting impressions that left on him; Lara reminisced about the last time she saw him and how proud he was of her scholastic achievements; Tala hoped to graduate from AUB like her beloved grandparents; and Hassan Jr. simply wanted to become just like him when he grew up.
In a written tribute he sent to mark the dedication, childhood friend and partner Wafic Said said: “Hassan was one of the brightest, kindest, wisest and most generous men you could know, a true Damascene gentleman.”Despite his remarkable success, Hassan remained modest, said his friend, who could not attend the ceremony. “He would always say: ‘After all, I just make slabs of concrete.’”Said added that Hassan Smadi not only left many landmark buildings, both in Lebanon and abroad, but also many happy memories with all those who knew him.