Four AUB and AUBMC employees were honored with this year’s President’s Service Excellence Awards after being nominated by their peers and colleagues for excellence in the quality of their service. The award ceremony came as part of an annual tradition that also recognizes the long service of employees who have reached the landmark of 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 years at the University.
For the 16th year, the President’s Service Excellence Awards were presented following a call that was sent out to the AUB community in February 2016 announcing a search for employees who excel in their given tasks and go above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifying professionalism and courtesy to others.
Individuals were nominated by their colleagues for qualities such as passion, energy, commitment to excellence, collegiality, and working with a positive attitude. “We wanted individuals who make this a better place to work, study, or receive care. Individuals who are committed to a better AUB for all,” President Fadlo R. Khuri said at the ceremony in Assembly Hall.
Nibal Safah, GME Program Coordinator at the Psychiatry department in AUBMC, was nominated for her service excellence, enthusiasm, and empathy. Considered a pillar to the success of the department, Nibal was described by her colleagues as “extremely dedicated and committed to Service Excellence no matter how difficult and demanding the requests are.” An example of Nibal’s leadership is her taking initiative in changing the location of the smokers’ section from near the St. Jude Cancer Center.
Rabab Abi Shakra, Executive Assistant at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture’s Dean’s Office, is known in her department as the efficient and dedicated role model. With a strong team spirit and a smile on her face, Rabab is willing to serve beyond her job description to make sure FEA students are well taken care of. Former ECE majors still visiting her are testimony to her positive effect in their lives during undergraduate years. Rabab commenced a structural system that is recommended by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.), facilitating work flow during the busiest times at the department.
Showing perseverance to improve himself and better serve AUB, Jiryis Fares began his career as a Janitor and is now IT Office Assistant at the Office of the CIO. His hard work and willingness to help others were noticeable to his peers who found inspiration in his positivity and drive to continuously learn more skills to better perform. Jiryis was nominated for being ambitious, eager to deliver, service-oriented, and results focused. “My colleagues and friends have supported me and allowed me to grow over the years. Chief Information Officer, Dr. Yousif Asfour, in fact, encouraged me to continuously develop,” he told us.
“Ever since my first year at AUB, I have been given the opportunity to grow in this institution. There’s something special at AUB that makes me want to give more and be more productive,” Asma Shihab told us. Asma is Administrative Assistant at the Epidemiology and Population department at the Faculty of Health Sciences, known among her peers for her extreme helpfulness and meticulous work even after hours.
Asma makes her tough multi-faceted job look easy. Referred to as “the silent mega force doing all the work behind the scenes for a major production,” she was described by her nominators as maintaining a calm demeanor and doing an impeccable job with delightful positivity.
“In order for success to take place, you have to start loving your job and the way you accomplish it. If it weren’t for the supportive environment that AUB has given me, I would have never dreamed of reaching this stage in my career development,” she added.
“The four recipients of the President’s Service Excellence Awards have demonstrated the highest levels of excellence, professionalism, and courtesy and they set an example for all of us,” said Dr. Mohamed Sayegh, Executive Vice President for Medicine and Global Strategy and the Raja N. Khoury Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “Despite the diversity in their roles, all of our award recipients have proven record of dedication to their jobs in specific and to the institution as a whole.”
The first group of four employees to be honored for their continuous and outstanding service was in 2000. To date, 77 employees who have helped students, patients, and colleagues have been awarded.
President Khuri also presented Service Awards to staff at AUB and AUBMC who have completed 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 years of service at the University. The longest serving employee to be recognized was Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences technician Samir Jirji Tuma, who joined the School of Agriculture as it then was in 1965 only 14 years after its foundation. When we asked if he ever thought of retirement, Samir replied: “Not at all, I love my work here and will go on as long as possible!”
This is the 48th year since the inception of Service Awards when the AUB Workers and Staff Syndicate introduced the concept.
“AUB staff members are known for their extraordinary dedication, their unstinting loyalty, and their absolutely commitment to this university. It is truly their university,” said President Khuri. “On behalf of generations of AUB presidents – some of you have served since President Samuel Kirkwood, that would make more than the half of AUB Presidents – and at least five iterations of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank you sincerely for your service through good times and bad. You are the backbone of AUB.”
Chief Operating Officer Ramin Sedehi acknowledged AUB’s “loyal employees” as key in the continuity of the institution and its provision of healthcare and education through the “golden years” of great positive change and ingenuity in Lebanon as well as nearly two decades of civil war. “You were the people who kept the lights on, the place running, and the sense of continuity and normalcy that must have been essential to all those who walked through the gates. Thank you,” he said.
A total of 78 staff members were recognized at the ceremony for serving between 30 and 50 years at AUB or AUBMC.
“I know that AUB and its vibrant medical center are endowed with many individuals whose dedication and commitment to excellence go far beyond the call of duty. They do this because they genuinely love this institution. They give of themselves daily because they care about their colleagues, they believe in their institution, and they imbibe in AUB’s mission that they may have life and have it more abundantly. These individuals do this not to be acknowledged today but because they believe in the greater good of the institution,” President Khuri said.