Lebanese American University celebrates a year of achievement with Third Annual Gala

Sep 18, 2013, 14:32 ET from Lebanese American University

NEW YORK, Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 250 guests attended LAU's Third Annual New York Gala on Friday September 13, celebrating an extraordinary year that saw the university expand its global reach further than ever.

Hosted at The Pierre in Manhattan, the gala was attended by several prominent figures, including Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Lebanese Ambassador to the United Nations Nawaf Salem, Lebanon's Consul General Majdi Ramadan, and Switzerland's Consul General François Barras.

This year's gala was held in conjunction with the inauguration of LAU's New York Headquarters and Academic Center. Located at 211 E 46th Street, the 30,000 square-foot center will offer a variety of courses in areas such as Arabic language, Islamic banking, gender studies in the Arab world, and peace education, to students in the U.S. and beyond. LAU already has campuses in Beirut and Byblos, a medical center, and an executive center in Beirut's Solidere district.

"LAU has quickly ascended the ranks to become a higher education powerhouse in the MENA region," said LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra. "The New York center is a testimony to our extraordinary commitment to furthering cross-cultural education and understanding."

Gala proceeds will benefit the university's Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World, the oldest institute in the Arab world devoted to academic research on women and gender relations. LAU itself evolved from the first girls' school in the Ottoman Empire. The American School for Girls was established in 1834 by the Presbyterian missionary Sarah Huntington Smith.

The university's Sarah Huntington Smith Award was presented to three distinguished Lebanese-Americans. Dr. Edgar Choueiri is a prominent plasma physicist at Princeton University and president of the Lebanese Academy of Sciences. Ray LaHood was Secretary of Transportation from 2009-2013 and represented Illinois' 18th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1995-2009. Judge Jeanine Pirro was the first female district attorney of Westchester County, and star of Fox News' reality legal television show, "Justice with Judge Jeanine."

The evening was emceed by Lebanese journalist and LAU alumna Shada Omar ('93), and featured performances by the Alex Donnor Orchestra.

LAU is a coeducational American university with over 8,250 students. It comprises seven schools: medicine, nursing, pharmacy, engineering, architecture and design, arts and sciences, and business.

SOURCE Lebanese American University