Hasib Sabbagh is a builder in every sense of the word. Like so many Palestinians who were shaped in the crucible of exile, he poured his energy into building companies, building buildings, and building human beings. Like so many Palestinians he became an instinctive and consistent philanthropist. With no fully recognized and established state to look after his compatriots, Hasib Sabbagh and several of his fellow Palestinians used and use their fortunes to bring basic services and jobs to those struggling to keep their heads above water in the occupied territories.
Hasib Sabbagh took a BS in civil engineering from AUB in 1941, and, having borrowed $1,000, founded the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) in 1943. In 1948, having fled Safad, his home town, and Haifa, the site of his business, Mr. Sabbagh came to Beirut and entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, Said Khoury. The two forged links with the Bechtel Group and collaborated on projects in the Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kuwait, and Abu Dhabi. From those origins, CCC went on to become Consolidated Contractors International, now ranked about 25th out of 225 contracting firms operating globally.
We are honored to count Hasib Sabbagh among our graduates. We salute him as a businessman who did things the old way modest beginnings, rising above suffering, working hard, delivering excellence. We salute him as a philanthropist who continually gives back while continually looking forward. We salute him as a human being who should serve as a model to all those in his profession. It has been sixty-two years since he graduated from AUB. His honorary doctorate can scarcely do justice to those six decades of extraordinary accomplishments.