The inauguration of Riad Kamal Structural Engineering Laboratory took place in the presence of Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan, former Minister Leila El Solh Hamadeh, AUB trustees, philanthropists and family members and friends of the Kamal family on January 19, 2015 at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture’s (FEA) Irani Oxy Engineering Complex.
“This state-of-the-art laboratory will serve one of our most dynamic and flourishing faculties and will ensure that FEA remains at the vanguard of engineering technologies,” said President Peter Dorman. “This lab will be a tremendous asset to our aspiring engineers, and in particular the new construction engineering program, as well as to our faculty researchers.”
“It is especially fitting that this cutting-edge facility will bear the name of Riad Kamal, a visionary engineer and entrepreneur whose name is synonymous with some of the most spectacular construction projects of the 21st century, foremost among these being Burj Khalifa in the UAE, an architectural marvel of surpassing grandeur and elegance,” he added.Kamal, an AUB trustee, construction magnate, and philanthropist, also attended the ceremony, recounting his own experiences with fundraising.He said that each time he solicited donations from philanthropists and donors he would ask them to thank him personally for convincing them to have found the best cause for investing their money in.
“This evening it is my turn to thank Dean Suidan for taking my money and convincing me to invest in FEA’s lab,” he said. “Let us now celebrate together our joy of giving.”
Kamal also praised AUB graduates for their skills and drive. “During my career I have closely worked with AUB graduates and found them to be the best,” said Riad Kamal. “They have been instrumental in the growth of my own company in business.”
According to FEA Dean Makram Suidan, the lab will house: Final Year Project (FYP) teams made up of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering students who will design, build and test a state-of-the-art shake-table that simulates earthquake ground motion for undergraduate and graduate structural engineering teaching and research; a team of CEE and Architecture and Design faculty members designing a state-of-the-art 3-D concrete printer which will be the only large scale 3-D printer outside of Germany; a 4-column material testing system (MTS), reaction wall and strong floor for earthquake research; and a Tinus Olsen machine for testing of tension and compression of construction materials such as steel, concrete, and rock.
“We have great plans for this,” said Suidan, before addressing Kamal: “Your generosity will help propel CEE to new heights.”
Riad Kamal is a graduate of the Imperial College at London University and holds a B.Sc in civil engineering and a master's degree in structural engineering. In 1974 he founded Arabtec Construction LLC which went public 30 years later to become the first private company to become public in the UAE. Today Arabtec Holding PJSC is one of the five largest contractors in the MENA region and specializes in building and civil engineering works and its name has become a household name in the construction industry in the Gulf States. Arabtec Holding PJSC is listed on the Dubai Financial Market in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Kamal currently is a board member of: Gulf Capital, Abu Dhabi; Arabia Insurance, Lebanon; Turkland Bank, Turkey; Rotana Hotel Management Corporation, Abu Dhabi; Oman Arab Bank, Oman; and Arab National Bank, KSA. His former board memberships include: Arabtec Holding PJSC, Dubai; DEPA Group, Dubai; and Arab Bank, Jordan.
In addition to serving on the boards of numerous influential companies and institutions, including AUB, Kamal is a generous philanthropist who focuses primarily on supporting Palestinian people, culture, and society. Being a great believer in the power of education, he founded a School for Boys in Nablus as well as Al Hoash, an organization created to revive and preserve visual arts as a major part of Palestinian cultural identity.
According to Dorman, although not an alumnus himself, throughout his life and career, Kamal has always exemplified the values and ideals held dear at AUB: life-long learning; professional excellence; engaged citizenship; and the willingness to help make a positive contribution to one’s community. An esteemed member of our Board of Trustees since 2008, he has been an active and committed participant in the board’s efforts to further the mission and goals of AUB.
“On behalf of the entire University community, I extend my sincere thanks to Riad Kamal for his outstanding support of AUB and for serving as an inspiration to our students… and to us all,” he concluded.