Dear members of the AUB community,
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of VP Emeritus George Tomey, a respected figure of our community who helped the university persevere through significant prior hardships and was instrumental in its rehabilitation and post-war growth.
Tomey served the university and generations of its staff and students for more than 40 years. He was vice president for administration for more than 19 years, from 1987, serving until he became vice president emeritus upon his retirement in 2006.
An experienced and capable administrator, George was a mentor to many generations of administrators and students over 30 years. Starting in 1966, he helped teach first year medical students on technological advances in the general physiology and biophysics courses, as well as graduate students in medical sciences on emerging concepts in biomedical engineering.
Mr. Tomey continued to serve the university throughout the Lebanese Civil War. Working around the clock within the Crisis Response Team that he formed, through shortages of food, fuel, water, and electricity, he navigated the devastation of his home and serial bombs that hit College Hall over the course of the years. Once hostilities ceased, he worked to help put the American University of Beirut back on a path of growth and development, focusing on the rehabilitation of the campus’ infrastructure, the reconstruction of College Hall, and the retention of non-academic staff.
Mr. Tomey was also instrumental in introducing automation to the university’s hospital and its medical equipment, the university library, and an advanced information system, in addition to the upgrading of the university’s power plant and a fiber-optic network. After the war, he was placed in charge of the university’s critical non-academic units, including human resources; campus protection; physical plant; environmental health, safety, and risk management; computer and network services; the facilities planning and design unit; business services; and university legal counsel.
Prominent among his many contributions to the university are his efforts to protect the welfare of retired employees unable to cover their university health insurance premiums. In his honor, a group of faculty and staff established the George Tomey HIP Retirees Fund in 2006 to assist such retired employees with a matched contribution from the university. As a result, numerous individuals and their families have since been able to afford medical care at the AUBMC.
A graduate of the International College in Beirut and the American University of Beirut, Mr. Tomey was a longstanding citizen of his alma maters. Upon receiving his BSc in electrical engineering at AUB in 1962 and before pursuing his master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Washington in 1969, he served as regional engineer, research assistant, and then director of the Scientific Equipment Center at the Department of Physiology at AUB’s School of Medicine. On the establishment of the Medical Engineering Department, he served as its first director of medical engineering.
George Tomey’s legacy will continue to resonate at AUB. The circle of his loved ones includes his wife Katia and two daughters Zeina and Lara, along with thousands of grateful employees, inspired graduates, and his beloved American University of Beirut.
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD