The individual and joint contributions of members of the engineering class of 1964 led to the inaugurations of two laboratories in the Ray Irani OXY engineering building, still under construction.
“We questioned the wisdom of renovating old wings as compared to having a brand new building, and we opted for the latter,” said Ibrahim Hajj, former dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture and a member of the class of 1964, in his welcoming address on June 19, 2014 at the Ray Irani OXY building hall. “We established a master plan, with the assistance of Dar El Handasseh and started fundraising, as well as persuading Ray Irani, AUB Board of Trustees member to donate the lion’s share.”
The first inauguration was of a laboratory room, The Sami Sidawi Water Resources Center, located on the second floor of the Irani OXY Engineering Complex. The laboratory will be used for teaching and research by faculty and students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Sami Sidawi, a graduate of AUB in civil engineering and member of the class of 1964, personally contributed all the funds for this space to further the AUB mission of teaching and research.
“I owe AUB my education and my success as an engineer and entrepreneur,” said Sidawi. “I thank you all for making this a reality.”
The second room, located on the fifth floor of the same building, is named the "Class of 1964 VLSI Circuits Laboratory in Honor of Dean Ibrahim Hajj.” The laboratory will be used for teaching and research by faculty and students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“When the funds gathered by the class of 1964 fell short, it was Hajj who personally made up for the missing funds, and as such it is only fitting that this lab be dedicated to him,” said John Makkhoul, member of the class of 1964. “Moreover, it is thanks to Hajj and his efforts that the members of the class of 1964 found each other, encouraging the AUB Development Office to launch the alumni reunions.”
“I feel honored, humbled and privileged, and I thank you all for coming,” said Hajj, who is retiring from teaching this year. “Part of my soul will always remain here and I will look forward to our annual reunions.”
FEA Dean Makram Suidan gave a peek into the future of engineering at AUB with around 2,250 undergraduates expected to enroll in 2015, in addition to 71 PhD students and 96 faculty members.
“We are doing major redesigning of some of our buildings to accommodate the increasing number of students and faculty,” said Suidan. “We have also introduced new degree programs in industrial engineering, chemical engineering and biomedical engineering.”