Dear members of the AUB community,
It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of Dr. Fawzi Al-Hajj, a widely admired man of principle and dedication to this university. Known to generations as a committed mentor and teacher, and the longest serving dean of students in the university's annals, he served as one of our university's pillars and a symbol of its resilience during the Lebanese Civil War.
Born in 1933, Fawzi moved from the small town of Anout in the Chouf area to the US through a scholarship for a professional degree in San Luis Obispo, California. He then moved to UC Davis and eventually to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he completed his PhD in agricultural sciences, and then back to Lebanon, shuttling between his two homes: Anout and the American University of Beirut.
Dr. Al-Hajj joined AUB in 1966 as an assistant professor of extension education in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. He rose rapidly, and was appointed professor with tenure in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Sociology by 1971.
In 1977, he became director of the Bursary Student Office, in addition to his faculty appointment. In 1981, he was appointed as dean of students, a post he held for 18 years--before returning to his work as professor of agriculture-- making some of his most crucial contributions to AUB in that capacity.
Our alumni around the world today still treasure the impact Dr. Al-Hajj made on their lives and his instrumental role in the continuation of the teaching program, often under extremely trying circumstances. He procured boats to evacuate foreign students to Cyprus and personally negotiated with local leaders to limit the influence of their political groups on campus. The safety and wellbeing of our students were his overarching concern, and he ensured their protection with probity and wisdom. He helped shoulder the immense responsibility of protecting students following the periods after the assassination of President Malcom Kerr and the destruction of AUB's iconic College Hall.
Dr. Al-Hajj was always a staunch supporter of students. He did all he could to personally facilitate their learning activities. He was responsible for scholarship programs for foreign students and repeatedly served as chair of the editorial board of the student publication Outlook, playing a major role in its revival.
Many will instantly recall Dr. Al-Hajj's unstinting service and his welcoming demeanor. He skillfully balanced between managing complex situations and giving our students their voice. Despite his devotion to university rules, he often reminded everyone around him of his motto, "My students are always right."
Fawzi Al-Hajj leaves behind his wife Yvonne, his son Walid, and his daughters Nadine, Sana, Mandana, and Rania. He will always be remembered for his larger than life smile and his love for people from all different walks of life. May His Soul Rest In Peace.
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD