The American University of Beirut’s highest honour, the Academic Medal, was awarded to Professor Samir Tabet in recognition of his extraordinary contributions and achievements, the AUB said in a statement on Monday.
The statement said Tabet, AUB Vice President Emeritus, Acting Past President, accomplished scholar and artist, received the Academic Medal in a July 7 ceremony at AUB’s Marquand House.
“Samir Tabet is an iconic figure in the history of the American University of Beirut. He has held critical roles at AUB as an academic for over 3 decades, as an outstanding chemistry teacher, a mentor invaluable and as a leader. He served as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for a decade and a half when AUB was in dire need of his sound judgment, firm resolve, and personal generosity,” said AUB President Fadlo Khuri as he presented him with the University Medal.
“Tabet’s long and distinguished career at AUB was marked by many years of service in the administration, many of them during difficult years for Lebanon and AUB,” the statement said. He joined AUB in 1953 when he was appointed assistant professor of chemistry. He held several leadership positions at AUB, including associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 1969, acting dean (1969-1970), rector of the university (1970-1976), vice- president of academic affairs (1977-1986), vice-president emeritus from 1988, as well as acting president in 1984. He was also president of the chemistry department from 1955 to 1956, then from 1966 to 1969.
Tabet has published throughout his academic career a large number of articles in internationally peer-reviewed journals. “Extraordinarily versatile, he was president of the Rotary Club of Beirut (1981) and cultural advisor to the President of the Republic (1987). He also assumed the presidency of the Society of Friends of the AUB Museum. Regular moves between Paris and Lebanon, Dr. Tabet ardently pursues his lifelong vocation, painting.He is a scholarship holder of the Paris Salon and has organized numerous exhibitions in Paris and Beirut, the profits of which have been donated to scholarship funds for students.
The AUB added that a Beirut weekly, commenting on Tabet’s 1995 exhibition at the Galerie Epreuve d’Artiste, said that his still lifes were a genre in themselves. “Former colleagues see the influence of chemistry in his colors, the vivid hues of inorganic irons enliven his canvases. To his students and colleagues alike, he is known as a persuasive teacher with a good sense of humor and a flair for an artistic approach in displaying chemical structures and equations,” the statement continued.
The AUB University Medal was established by the Board of Trustees in the spring of 1990 to be awarded periodically by vote of the Board to selected individuals in recognition of distinguished and meritorious service to the university. It is accompanied by a citation signed by the chairman of the board of directors and the president of the university.
Tabet is the first of three winners of this year’s university medals, with emeritus administrator Ali Ghandour and Professor Makhlouf Haddadin being the second and third, according to the statement. The prize will be offered to the family of late business leader Ali Ghandour in September 2022, and to Professor Makhlouf Haddadin in October 2022.
Previous University Medal recipients were Rafic B. Hariri (1990, 1998), Constantine Zurayk (1991), Samir Makdisi (1998), Raja N. Khuri (2000), Suliman Olayan (2000), George Mitchell (2002), Paul Volcker (2002), Richard A. Debs (2005), Kamal A. Shair (2007), Nicola N. Khuri (2009), Thomas Q. Morris (2009), Ann Z. Kerr-Adams (2010), Etel Adnan (2017), Maroun Semaan (2017), Huguette Caland (2017), Farouk K. Jabre (2018) and Myrna Bustani (2019).
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