American University of Beirut

Repairing Assembly Hall: it’s a family affair

​​​​Friday, November 20, 2020

"I was one of many alumni around the world who was heartbroken when I saw the damage at Assembly Hall,” remembers Jalal Bitar (BE ’71). “I have very fond memories of being in Assembly Hall when I was a student. We were very proud when our company, EBCO (BITAR), was chosen to do the repairs.” After being selected, Jalal informed the university that EBCO (BITAR) would make an in-kind donation to AUB for the full cost of the Assembly Hall repairs.

“We have had the great fortune of having been selected to work on many projects on the AUB campus over the years, including the construction of the Munib and Angela Masri Building and the renovation of Penrose Hall, but Assembly Hall is especially meaningful to our family. Like my father, my sister Nour (BA’07, MBA’12) and I are also AUB alumni and feel the need to give back to our alma mater – especially at this time,” says Jalal’s son and EBCO (BITAR) general manager Wael Bitar (BE ’01, EMBA ’11). 

The donation to cover the Assembly Hall repairs is not the family’s first gift to AUB. Wael recently established the Wael Jalal Bitar Pay it Forward Scholarship. Recipients are encouraged to support AUB scholarships if and when they can so that future students, who need financial assistance, will also receive the support they need. Nour is also a scholarship donor: she made a gift in 2018 to establish the Nasser Jalal Bitar Scholarship, named for Wael and Nour’s late brother who passed away in 2013. “We are an AUB family,” says Nour.

“Our immediate priority after the August 4 explosion was the needs at our medical center – including caring for patients and urgent repairs,” says VP for Advancement and Business Development Imad B. Baalbaki, PhD. “There are many high-priority needs on campus as well – including and especially providing scholarships for the many AUB students whose families are facing great economic challenges these days. We are grateful to EBCO (BITAR) and the Bitar family for their generous and timely philanthropy that made it possible for us to move quickly to repair one of the gems on upper campus.”​​​

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