The American University of Beirut dedicated a 1500-square-meter floor in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture’s Irani-Oxy Building in the name of former industry and telecommunications minister Georges N. Frem (1934-2006), who was known for his dedication to his country and for promoting positive change.
The Georges Frem Manufacturing Technologies Hub will house high-tech engineering labs that are directly related to the industry, in an effort to establish a long lasting relationship between academia and the Lebanese industry.
“The hub will help our faculty produce top-quality research and will prepare our undergraduate and graduate students to excel in a variety of engineering fields,” said President Peter Dorman, at the official ceremony on November 5, which was attended by members of the Frem family including AUB alumnus Neemat Frem, the president and CEO of INDEVCO, and son of the late Georges N. Frem. “How fitting that this cutting-edge facility will bear the name of Georges Frem, who was himself an innovator and leader.”
Dorman added: “Throughout his life and career—as an industrialist, philanthropist, and government official—Georges Frem was an inspiration to all those who knew him. He cared passionately about this country and worked tirelessly to make it better.”
Also attending the ceremony were Hayat Frem, wife of the late minister, his daughters, Hala and Rania, and his son, Bahjat, as well as his brother, Rabih, and other members of the family.
The hub is also expected to encourage multi-disciplinary engineering projects in the fields of electrical and communication engineering, mechanical engineering as well as chemical and petroleum engineering. “In addition to its invaluable academic impact, the relationship between academia and Lebanese industry aims at supporting and advancing the Lebanese industry and thus the community at large,” said FEA Dean Makram Suidan, thanking the Frem family for their generous gift.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Neemat Georges Frem noted that the manufacturing industry will look forward to the creative research output of the Georges Frem Manufacturing Technologies Hub. He added that naming a hub linked to the manufacturing industry after his father is truly fitting, particularly when that space is located in a prestigious university, which is soon to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
Georges N. Frem came to politics in 1982, after nearly three decades as a brilliant businessman, entrepreneur, and industrialist. In 1955, he started his own business, which later grew to become INDEVCO, the international manufacturing group that produces paper, plastic, and corrugated packaging. As a philanthropist, he established INDEVCO Foundation in 2002, now the Georges N. Frem Foundation, which has done tremendous work in supporting education, agriculture, and economic development in Lebanon.
“AUB strives for two overarching goals in its mission of education: to give our students the skills they need to have fulfilling and productive careers, and to ensure they become engaged citizens, leaders in their communities, and models of ethical and humane behavior in their personal and professional lives,” said Dorman. “Georges Frem embodied these characteristics to the highest degree. We are very fortunate to have such close and productive ties with the Frem family and INDEVCO and it is an honor to have the Frem name permanently associated with this campus.”