In February, Nada Sara (above) gave a lecture on Lebanon’s UNESCO Heritage Sites to the California alumni chapters, speaking at the San Francisco Towers (below) on February 6 and at the House of Lebanon in Los Angeles on February 7. She presented an uplifting view of the country, including important historical information unbeknownst to many Lebanese. The lectures were well received and her talk is being considered for other alumni chapters in the future.
LAU pharmacy students doing their rotations in Houston at Methodist Hospital gathered at Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill on February 11. Dr. Ray Hachem, (back row, second from left) serves as a mentor for the students, and Mike Liebl (back row, center) oversees them at Methodist Hospital.
On November 12, Lebanese wine writer Michael Karam delivered an illustrated lecture on the evolution of the Lebanese wine industry, from its inception to the present day, at LAU NY. The talk drew more than 150 people as Karam gave an overview of the country’s 5000-year-old wine tradition, before diving into the modern industry. The lecture was followed by a tasting of wines from nine Lebanese producers. The evening was co-sponsored by the Union Vinicole du Liban (UVL) and the Consulate General of Lebanon in New York
On December 7, LAU NY, in collaboration with the American University in Cairo, hosted a screening of “Cairo Drive” by Sherief Elkatsha.
The documentary explores the life of one of the world’s most populated cities from its streets. Shot before and during the Egyptian revolution, it touches on the country’s collective identity, inherent struggles, and the sentiments that lead through the historic changes taking place in Egypt today. Guest snacked on popcorn and afterwards had the chance to interact with Elkatsha in a light hearted Q&A session.
Where do you live and what do you do?
I am the founder of CardioDiagnostics, a medical technology company specialized in cardiac care solutions. Our technology can monitor the electrical activity of the heart and keep tabs on potential abnormalities. And we can do it wirelessly, so cardiac patients can go about their lives instead of staying in the hospital. I split my time between Lebanon and the U.S. We have a small office in San Francisco.
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
My father died 13 years ago of a heart attack and doctors said at the time that they could have prevented the attack if they could monitor his condition outside the hospital. The loss of my father was the motivation behind developing a cardiac monitoring technology. I created my very first prototype at LAU.
How and when did you get involved with LAU?
I studied computer engineering at LAU, graduating in 2007. After getting my master’s at Ohio State in Biomedical Engineering, I later ended up teaching back at LAU from 2011-2012. In my classes, I focused a lot on building my students’ self-confidence. In Lebanon, we put ourselves down a lot. Once that mentality is changed, we can do miraculous things. Some of my ex-students have founded their own companies in Lebanon.
What do you think about the merits of an American-style education in Lebanon?
An American-style education helped me prepare for the outside world. The way the education was structured helped me get into graduate school at Ohio State, and helped me excel once I was there.
CardioDiagnostics is only two years old and you’ve already been recognized by President Obama as an “Emerging Global Entrepreneur”. What’s next for you and your company?
Today we are 10 people, operating on three continents, with customers in eight different markets. We want to grow our presence in Europe and the U.S. The need is global in that cardiac disease is the leading cause of death around the world. As such, a lot of medical experts want to bring the technology to their countries, but there are many challenges with scaling that we have to overcome, and I know that we will.
LAU recently lost a friend and supporter in Ambassador William A. Stoltzfus, Jr. Born in 1924 in Beirut, he was the elder son of William and Ethel Stoltzfus, who had made their separate ways to Lebanon in 1919 to work with orphanages and refugee camps following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The younger William, known as “Bill”, grew up in Aleppo, where his father was head of the North Syria School for Boys, and later Beirut, when his father became President of American Junior College, subsequently Beirut College for Women, and now LAU.
LAU Matters spoke to Bill’s son and Board of Trustees member, Philip, about how he and his family plan to keep his parents’ spirit alive through LAU, and in turn, how an LAU student can carry on the legacy of his parents.
When my grandfather was president of BCW, the function of the college at that time was not simply to educate young people, but also to instill them with a sense of civic engagement. Service was part of the ethos of the school, as it is now for LAU.
My father and mother were totally committed to public service. My father was a career diplomat, serving in Egypt, Libya, Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Oman, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. He also served his country as a pilot in the Naval Air Corps.
My mother, who died in 2004, taught at BCW where she met my father in 1953. She became an accomplished diplomat in her own right, providing channels of communication through her personal contacts among women in the countries my father served, particularly in the Gulf. She read to the blind, developed and was head teacher at a pre-school program for low-income families in Ethiopia, served as volunteer coordinator for children with cerebral palsy in the Gulf, and established the first non-religious school in north Yemen, the Ta‘iz Cooperative School.
Because of my parents’ lifelong dedication to service, we decided we wanted to establish an award to go to an LAU student who has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to community service.
My parents taught me that real service comes from a feeling of empathy for one’s fellow man, which depends on being able to understand and appreciate another person’s perspective. There are many universities in the U.S. that push a liberal arts agenda, but there are only a handful in the Middle East. LAU excels in educating the student in a civic-minded way, and that’s why we continue to support the university.
With this gift, the Stoltzfus family carries on its legacy of service, and creates opportunities for the next generation to follow in their footsteps.
To make a donation in memory of William A. Stoltzfus Jr., visit campaign.lau.edu.lb or call Robert Hollback, Assistant Vice President of Development for North America at (646) 255-1097