A host of AUB donors, faculty and alumni gathered for the inaugural event of the Omar Salhab modern classroom at the Irani Oxy Engineering Center on April 28, 2015.
Omar, who passed away on November 22, 2012, was born in Roumieh, Lebanon in 1947, joined the FEA in 1969 and graduated in 1974 alongside his fellow donors Bassim Ziadeh and Trustee Mu’taz Sawwaf, who affectionately became known as ‘The 3 Musketeers’.
“Since Omar and I overlapped during our stay at FEA, I searched the AUB yearbooks for a picture hoping to recognize him,” said FEA Dean Makram Suidan in his welcoming speech. “I only found pictures of Mu’taz Sawwaf but no evidence that Omar Salhab, or for that matter Bassim Ziadeh, ever attended or graduated from the FEA.”
“So today we are going to give Mrs. Salhab the degree that confirms Omar’s graduation from AUB but Bassim Ziadeh would have to name another space before he gets his degree,” he added.
The modern classroom, aside from being the FEA’s largest, is equipped with the latest audiovisual paraphernalia and revolving ergonomic chairs. It boasts a modular design, allowing it to be divided into 2 or 3 smaller separate classrooms each with its own individual audiovisual equipment.
Along with Ziadeh and Sawwaf, Salhab co-founded Areen Projects Engineers in 1978. The three partners then went on to establish Roots Group, a major player in the sale of building materials and the outfitting of building interiors in 1982. They established IFS, a wholesale and retail food products business in 1990, and also started a fabric and clothing manufacturing facility in Egypt in 1992.
“Omar was a calm, honest, sincere and very down to earth man who was greatly appreciated and respected by all who knew him,” said Suidan. In closing, Dean Suidan read the following words on behalf of Mrs. Salhab:
“There would be no more fitting place to dedicate a classroom in Omar’s name than the school of architecture in AUB. This is where he laid the foundations for his future and formed a friendship that turned into a partnership that lasted over 40 years.
We can’t think of loyalty without thinking of Omar. Loyalty to his friends, to his classmates, to someone he hasn’t seen for 30 years, to AUB, loyalty that made ‘The 3 Musketeers’.
Omar, we miss you.”
The amount paid to name the classroom will be used to establish an endowment for a PhD student, enabling the perpetual support of a doctoral student from the income of the endowment.
The event was capped off with a cocktail reception.