American Univesity of Beirut

In Memoriam: Remembering those we lost in 2018

​​​​Jennifer Muller, Office of Communications,​​​

During 2018, the AUB community mourned the passing of many luminaries associated with the university. They include distinguished professors who educated and mentored generations of AUB students, eminent physicians, institutional leaders, activists, and esteemed artists. Included here are just some of those who passed away during the year (in alphabetical order). More remembrances can be found in the “In Memoriam" section of The MainGate magazine:

Suhayl Jabbur (MD '56)

Pioneering neuroscientist and professor emeritus​​

​Professor Emeritus Suhayl Jabbur was a pioneering neuroscientist and a pillar of the medical staff. He received his MD from AUB in 1956 and PhD in biophysics from the University of Washington in 1960. Returning to AUB as assistant professor of biophysics, he founded the Research and Teaching Laboratories in Neuroscience and laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Interfaculty Graduate Neuroscience Program. Jabbur contributed to the founding of many national and international societies and his publications record boasts an extensive list of articles in prestigious journals with high impact factor.  Among numerous awards and honors, Jabbur won the Basic Medical Sciences Award from the World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries, as well as Professor of the Year Award (2004) and the Gold Medal Award from the medical chapter of AUB alumni (2006).

Antoine Khabbaz

Founding director of AUB's Counseling Center

Dr. Antoine Khabbaz, a trained psychologist who cared deeply about the students he helped and supported, established the AUB Counseling Center in 2001 and served as its director from that time until his death. He is widely credited with creating a safe, affirming, and unbiased environment that put students at ease. Khabbaz earned his BA and MA in psychology in France and held two diplomas in practical psychology and higher studies in ethnology and prehistory from Lyon University, as well as a PhD in anthropology from Lyon University. Under his leadership, AUB's Counseling Center became a leader in the region, promoting a progressive approach to student counseling, and serving as a model for other similar institutions to emulate. Following an outpouring of responses on social media after his passing, one person said of him: “I have no other words other than he truly ​was a light in the dark to everyone he talked to."

Mona Chemali Khalaf (BA '61, MA '64)

Scholar, women's rights advocate, and chair of the AUB President's Club​​

Mona Chemali Khalaf was a prominent scholar, women's rights advocate, and long-time member and chair of the AUB President's Club. In his message to the community upon her death, AUB ​President Fadlo Khuri called her “a wonderful and generous alumna, a tremendous leader, and true pioneer."  After graduating from AUB with a bachelor's degree with distinction and a master of arts in economics, Khalaf went on to become a faculty member at the Beirut University College and the Lebanese American University (LAU). She was a renowned intellectual and activist focusing on gender and development issues in the Arab world and the author of numerous publications. From 1997 to 2005, she was director of the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World at LAU. Khalaf joined the AUB President's Club in 1992 and became its chair in 2011, working tirelessly with other members of this philanthropic club to improve the student experience at AUB.


Amin Kurani (BA '06, MA '12)

English instructor and fourth-generation member of the Kurani family at AUB

Amin David Kurani was a two-time alumnus, a full-time instructor in the Department of English, and a fourth-generation member of AUB's Kurani family since the university's founding. As a student at AUB, Amin Kurani was active in theater and the arts, fields in which his father has long enriched the AUB community. After receiving his BA in English literature with distinction in 2006 and MA in 2012, Kurani joined the Communication Skills Program in 2014 as a full-time instructor of composition and rhetoric. Upon his passing, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Nadia El Cheikh described him as an “incredible young man who touched the lives of his students and colleagues," noting that he had a very bright future ahead of him, having been accepted to pursue a doctorate at the Lebanese University​




Selwa Makarem (BS '58)

Former director of the Hariri School of Nursing

A distinguished alumna, former nurse, nurse educator, and decade-long director of the Hariri School of Nursing, Selwa Makarem has been lauded by AUB President Fadlo Khuri as a “true servant leader and a paragon of the nursing profession." Overcoming post-polio physical challenges, Makarem persevered with her education and graduated from AUB's school of nursing in 1958, winning the coveted Florence Nightingale Award. She went on to earn her master's in nursing supervision from Boston University and her doctorate in nursing curriculum and instruction from Columbia University Teacher's College in 1978. After a flourishing academic career in New York and California, Makarem returned to Lebanon in 1993 to serve as head of the Hariri School of Nursing (HSON). As director from 1993 to 2003, she revamped the school's structure and organization, introduced new technologies, and enhanced the curriculum, reestablishing HSON as the premier nursing school in the region.



Nazih Nahlus (BA '77)

Long-time professor of mathematics

Professor Nazih Nahlus devoted over 30 years to teaching and research at AUB and was renowned amongst colleagues and students as an inspiring algebraist, eminent scholar, and enthusiastic mentor. Nahlus received his BA in mathematics from AUB in 1977 and his PhD in mathematics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1986. He joined AUB in 1988 and rose through the ranks to become full professor in 2002.  His research interests included non-commutative algebra, Lie groups, and Lie algebras. He is remembered by his former students and his colleagues as being a “distinguished scholar, a gentleman, a true friend, and an excellent teacher."



Emily Nasrallah (BA '58)

Lebanese novelist and women's rights activist

The internationally celebrated Lebanese writer Emily Nasrallah is renowned for her body of work including novels, short stories, and books for children. Born in Kfeir in southern Lebanon, Nasrallah followed her ambition for higher education, eventually landing at the Beirut College for Women (now LAU) and then AUB, where she found inspiration in a campus that supported “freedom of thinking, freedom of movement, and the equality between men and women." After graduating with a BA in education in 1958, she completed her first novel The Birds of September, which won several literary prizes.  Her deeply insightful narratives dealt with bigotry against women, the horrors of civil war, and the cultural devastation wrought by diaspora and mass migrations from villages to cities. Nasrallah never left her native Lebanon and wrote all of her books in Arabic, many of which have been translated into other languages. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the prestigious Goethe Medal and the National Order of the Cedar.



Ghazi Sirhan (BA '58, MA '61)

Long-time professor of economics​

For 47 years, Dr. Ghazi Sirhan was a pillar of the Department of Economics and one of its “most faithful and dedicated citizens," according to a colleague. After receiving his bachelor's (1958) and master's degrees (1961) from AUB, Sirhan went to North Carolina State University, where he earned a PhD in 1969. Returning to AUB, he joined the department that would remain his home from 1970 until 2017, where he served as chair on numerous occasions. His areas of expertise ranged from microeconomic theory to income distribution and welfare economics, macroeconomics and monetary theory, and international trade. In her message to the AUB community upon his passing, Dean El Cheikh said, “His was a classroom in the true spirit of a liberal education, and one that gave students the opportunity to learn economics and applied math, but also history, politics, sociology, and the history of ideas."





Juheina Fakhreddine Yakzan

Writing instructor in the Department of English

A full-time instructor of academic writing in the Communication Skills Program since 2013, Juheina Fakhreddine Yakzan passed away this year after a long battle with cancer. She is described by FAS Dean El Cheikh as “an educator, an administrator, and a life-long learner" whose five years with the department were “filled with contagious enthusiasm and energy." She graduated from the Lebanese University with a teaching diploma in English in 1974 and worked for many years in secondary schools around Lebanon before going on to pursue her MA in education with an emphasis on teaching English as a second language from LAU in 2004. Her research focused on innovative methods and strategies for teaching the English language.





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