American Univesity of Beirut

Professor Makhlouf Haddadin concludes 57 years of service at AUB

​​​​​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications, communications@aub.edu.lb​​​

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Completing 57 years of distinguished service to AUB, Professor Makhlouf Haddadin has decided to retire. Regarded by many as a godfather of AUB, Makhlouf is a Jordanian innovator in organic chemistry who had joined AUB on a full scholarship in 1957, and decided ever since that AUB is where his heart, his passion, and his home will be.

After receiving his BSc in chemistry, Haddadin received his MSc in 1959, also at AUB. He then moved to the University of Colorado to receive his PhD in organic chemistry by 1962.

Since then, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow and tutor at Harvard University, and later as research associate and visiting professor and scholar at the University of Colorado, University of Notre Dame, and the University of California at Davis, until 2017. The rest of his time, from 1964, was well spent at AUB, for alongside his teaching role, he started as a research associate, and became assistant professor, professor, chairman of the Department of Chemistry, acting dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, vice-president for academic affairs, acting deputy president, acting dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, acting president over different periods in 1998, 1999, and 2015, acting Chief Operations Officer, and lastly senior advisor to the president from 2015 until his retirement.

Makhlouf Haddadin's research work is in the area of heterocyclic chemistry, resulting in the publication of more than 100 scholarly papers in prestigious international journals. A momentous event in Professor Haddadin's career was his co-discovery (with the late Emeritus Prof. C. H. Issidorides) in 1965 of the Beirut Reaction that impacted the field of pharmaceutical chemistry and yielded 40 patents in numerous countries. He later discovered (with Distinguished Professor Mark J. Kurth) what was named the Davis-Beirut Reaction in 2011.

Dr. Haddadin taught undergraduate chemistry courses from 1965 at different universities in the United States as well as AUB. In addition, he taught graduate organic chemistry courses and gave research seminars at universities in the US and the Middle East.

He is the recipient of many academic honors. He was Parke-Davis Fellow at Univ. of Colorado (1961-62 and is Costas and Bonnie Issidorides Professor of Organic Chemistry (2018 -present). In August 2013, he was honored by the Davis City Council in the US and the mayor of the city of Beirut, and he has been member of the Lebanese Academy of Sciences since 2009.

He has numerous peer reviewed publications in international journals and holds many patents worldwide with the late Issidorides for the Beirut Reaction.

Haddadin is a member of several professional societies, such as the American Chemical Society and the Advisory Board of the Journal “Archives of Organic Chemistry." He is also chairman of numerous academic, administrative, and research committees and boards.

In February 2011, Professor Haddadin was honored during the First Organic Chemistry Competition, held by the Department of Chemistry on the occasion of the International Year of Chemistry and endorsed by UNESCO and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. The ceremony was followed by a launch of a drive to establish the Makhlouf Haddadin Endowment. By the end of Spring 2011, the first batch of the Makhlouf Haddadin Student Awards were presented to distinguished graduating chemistry undergraduate and graduate students.

The legacy of Dr. Haddadin continues to be honored by AUB through student awards and lectures. On the occasion of Dr. Haddadin's 80th birthday and marking 50 years of his service at AUB, the Makhlouf Haddadin Lectureship was launched in March 2015. To date, 11 renowned chemists from all over the world have delivered Makhlouf Haddadin Lectures. This year, the Makhlouf Haddadin Symposium will be held where his lifetime contributions will be celebrated and renowned speakers will deliver plenary lectures. ​

Humble and avoiding the recognition he receives, Makhlouf may speak for hours, with zest and zeal, when it comes to organic chemistry, poetry, or humorous anecdotes. When asked to give us some speech about his many contributions to AUB while away from his homeland for 57 years, however, his answer was simple, “I served AUB to the best of my abilities."


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