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Sultan honors late trustee Maroun Semaan at AUS Board meeting
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), approved naming a memorial bench after the late Maroun Semaan, a former AUS trustee, during a meeting of the AUS Board of Trustees held at the university on Sunday, December 10.
Maroun Semaan, who passed away in May 2017, was a long-time supporter of AUS, serving on the board starting in 2005. His commitment to making quality education accessible to deserving students was manifested in the generous contributions that Petrofac International--an organization he co-founded -- made to the American University of Sharjah Endowment Fund, as well as towards the establishment of a chair in renewable energy in addition to other regular donations.
Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of AUS, said the memorial bench is a great way to honor the late trustee:
“The bench on campus will bear a plaque with Semaan’s name in order to recognize his significant role in the success of this institution. Trustee Semaan was known throughout the region for his exemplary entrepreneurial skills as well as his dedication to the cause of higher education in the Middle East. He was a great friend and supporter of AUS since its inception."
During the board meeting, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah expressed satisfaction at the progress the university has made and reviewed and approved new resolutions pertaining to various university matters. He also thanked the members of the AUS board for their continued efforts.
The board of trustees, endorsed by His Highness, approved the appointment of two new trustees: Dr. Cornelius Kerwin, President Emeritus of American University, Washington, DC; and Dr. Choon Fong Shih, Professor and former president of National University of Singapore and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST).
A former AUS Trustee, Dr. Kerwin served as American University’s 14th president and will return to its School of Public Affairs faculty in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. A nationally recognized specialist in public policy and the regulatory process, Dr. Kerwin is actively engaged in research and periodically teaches courses in administrative process, policy implementation, and American government. He received degrees from American University (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA, political science), and Johns Hopkins University (PhD, political science).
Professor Choon Fong Shih is the former president of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and a renowned fracture mechanics expert. Before joining KAUST as Founding President in December 2008, he was president of the National University of Singapore (NUS) for nine years and has been widely acknowledged for creating the university's research-intensive focus with an entrepreneurial dimension, as well as for elevating the global reputation of NUS. He received a Diploma in Engineering from Singapore Polytechnic, and an MS and PhD in Division of Applied Science from Harvard University.
The board also reviewed the details of the AUS Research Agenda 2018-2022 Implementation Plan which will drive the development of AUS to become a quality, comprehensive research university but without losing sight of the investment in making sure AUS remains an excellent liberal arts university.
The board thanked the Ruler of Sharjah for his leadership and generous support to AUS.
Chancellor Kjerfve said, “On behalf of the university, I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan for his guidance, leadership and unlimited support to the university.
Chancellor Kjerfve also thanked members of the AUS Board of Trustees for their efforts and support.
During the meeting, the board passed a number of other resolutions, reviewed matters related to the university’s efficient operation and functioning, and discussed various plans related to the future progress and development of AUS.
Sheikh Dr. Sultan also expressed pride in the establishment and achievements of AUS. In a speech during a reception for the new faculty members, he said “I feel proud that we have established such a unique university.” The reception was attended by the Board Members and senior staff. He also welcomed Choon Fong Shih as a new Board Member. Members of our Board of Trustees come from the various parts of the world, he added.