Alumni return for their graduation
For a significant number of alumni, graduation was not a time for fond memories of celebrating achievements with their peers, but instead of missed opportunities due to war or personal circumstances. The Alumni Relations Office at LAU took the initiative this year to give those alumni the chance to come back to campus and walk proudly across the stage.
The ceremony took place on July 11, 2014 in Beirut and was part of LAU’s 89th commencement exercises.
LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra included in his commencement speech a special heartfelt welcome to the returning alumni, saying: “We are delighted to have among us tonight a superb group of alumni who because of exceptional and unfortunate situations never had the opportunity to walk onstage and officially receive their degrees. After 30 years they are returning to their second home to do so. They are eminently successful in their respective careers and they are magnificent role models for all of us to look up to!”
The graduating alumni wrote some touching testimonials to show their thanks:
Aghar Kanafani, (‘82), country manager of Credit Libanais S.A.L., Bahrain branch: “There are no words to describe the flood of feelings that engulfed me from the moment I stepped on campus until the end of the commencement exercises”.
Nabil Al Banna (‘82), managing director of Al Banna Group: “Thank you very much LAU, indeed it was an unforgettable night”.
Imad El Khalil (‘84), director at Qatar Coral for Real Estate Development L.L.C.: “It was always a wish of mine to see this happen, and even though it took 30 years, this is a dream come true! It was a fantastic experience and one that I believe none of us will forget, ever”.
Rania Soubra, (‘83 & ‘11), financial consultant: “Getting the chance to participate in a graduation ceremony after almost 30 years and sharing it with fellow colleagues is something I never thought would happen, and yet it did. It was an amazing experience! A forgotten dream brought to life!
Fadi Baaklini (‘89): managing director at Mepco Gulf: “I join my voice to everyone else’s with a big thank you for all the efforts put into making our dream a reality. I guess in all of us there was this longing to come full circle to celebrate the accomplishments in our lives with this commencement ceremony, that at least for me had always been an unfinished part of my career.”
Nidal Abou Zaki (‘90), managing director at Orient Planet: “I was really reluctant at first to participate in the commencement exercises 23 years after my real graduation, but it was an issue in my mind that I did not properly “graduate”… I did not attend the ceremony because at that time I was outside the country and could not get enough money in time to travel back to Lebanon to attend… This was a chance to re-do it properly.”
Souheil Hatoum ‘83: “It was a great idea to bring me back to LAU thirty years later to officially receive my degree. Thank you Dr. Jabbra and LAU for making it happen”.