American Univesity of Beirut

Annual chemistry symposium honors university icon Makhlouf Haddadin

​​​​​​​​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications,​

The annual Makhlouf Haddadin Symposium this year honored Professor Haddadin with a posthumous university medal and celebrated 57 years of his distinguished service at the American University of Beirut. Bringing experts from around the world, the symposium continued for two days and presented plenary Makhlouf Haddadin lectures by nine internationally-renowned chemists.

One of the longest serving administrators in the history of the university, Makhlouf Haddadin was born in Ma'in, Jordan and joined the American University of Beirut on a full scholarship to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry (BS '57, MS '59). After attending the University of Colorado at Boulder for his doctorate in organic chemistry (PhD '62) and doing post-doctoral work at Harvard University, he returned to his alma mater and made it his home. For 57 years at the American University of Beirut until his retirement in Spring 2022, a few months before his passing, he mentored generations of the world's leading chemists and served in numerous important administrative positions, including vice president for academic affairs, acting dean of health sciences, and acting president at some of the most testing times of the university.

“Makhlouf was the son of Ma'in but was also very much the son of Beirut, which he chose to honor with the naming of the equation he discovered," said President of the American University of Beirut Fadlo Khuri. “Over 57 years at this university, filled with excellence and dedication to service in science and education, the names Makhlouf, the American University of Beirut, and Beirut have become synonymous to many, including Makhlouf and the Haddadin family."

Professor Haddadin was especially celebrated for his achievements in the area of heterocyclic chemistry that resulted in the publication of more than 125 scholarly papers in prestigious international journals. His contributions continued to his co-discovery of the “Davis-Beirut Reaction" with Professor Mark J. Kurth of the University of California at Davis, impacting with that the field of pharmaceutical chemistry and agronomy, and yielding 40 patents in numerous countries. Dr. Haddadin was also the first faculty to hold the Bonnie and Costantine Issidorides Chair in Organic Chemistry, which he did until his retirement. ​

“Twenty world-renowned chemists have delivered the Makhlouf Haddadin lectures, including this year's nine distinguished lecturers," said Dr. Bilal Kaafarani, professor of chemistry who initiated the Makhlouf Haddadin endowment in 2011 to grant awards to distinguished chemistry students. “We will continue to honor Professor Haddadin's legacy with this lectureship and the Makhlouf Haddadin Student Awards. He was a giant and he is rooted in our Chemistry Department."

After the memorial opening, the symposium took off with plenary Makhlouf Haddadin lectures delivered by this year's distinguished chemists. The special panel session was entitled, The Art of High Impact Publication: Round Table Discussion about Publishing Science and More!

“Professor Haddadin would have been tremendously happy to be with us during this important symposium to enjoy the presentations by prominent researchers and educators from around the world, here with us to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for chemistry and celebrate our dear Professor Haddadin, himself a prominent international chemist," said Dr. Saouma Boujaoude, Mamdouha el-Sayed Bobst Interim Dean at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

President Khuri presented the university medal to the Haddadin family, represented by Dr. Makhlouf's brother, Dr. Munther Haddadin, who said, “We are grateful that this grand institution of education and learning has unanimously decided to bestow on Makhlouf this very high honor in recognition of his continuous service to it as a teacher and a researcher. He happily lived a few yards away from his favorite laboratory lecture halls and office. We can see that Makhlouf's legacy will live on."

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