"He lived life abundantly"
In memory of Malcolm Hooper Kerr
October 8, 1931-January 18, 1984


Fifteen years ago this month—January 18, 1984—Dr. Malcolm H. Kerr, President of the American University of Beirut was assassinated while walking from an elevator to his office. In 1984, Beirut was still divided and Lebanon was still in the midst of a bloody civil war. AUB continued to serve the people of Lebanon, the Middle East, and the world, regardless of their politics or creed.

Dr. Kerr, the ninth president of the institution, was a renowned scholar on Arab politics who was educated at Princeton, AUB, and Johns Hopkins. Born in the University's Hospital in 1931 to an AUB Biochemist and the future AUB Dean of Women, Dr. Kerr later served many years at AUB and UCLA before returning to Beirut to become President of AUB in 1982. He served as President of the foremost educational institution in the Middle East for one and one-half years before being assassinated and dying in the same hospital in which he was born. Dr. Kerr combined the best of both worlds he loved—Lebanon and America—in his life and his work, and gave his life to preserve and promote the values and beliefs of AUB's founders that helped to make AUB the success it was and still is.


Five years ago, Dr. Kerr changed my life, even though he had been gone for ten years by then. A high school junior, I was given a scholarship in his name to study in the Arab world. I, along with nine others, was to spend a month in Egypt in the summer of 1994, under the watchful eyes of Dr. Kerr's widow, Ann.

I returned from a marvellous summer in Egypt totally changed in my focus and outlook on the world. I knew from that point on that I would spend my life studying the Middle East and searching for peace. It was not until a few years later, when I read more about Dr. Kerr, that I realized how much he was a role model, a mentor so to speak, for me in my study of the Middle East. Both Ann and Malcolm have spent their lives helping others to learn and to learn about the Middle East, and their love of Lebanon and region is so strong and genuine that it easily rubs off on others. I have them both to thank for who I am today.


Thus, for the month of January, this page will greet all visitors to al-Qhira f Amrk, so that they may all learn about and honor Dr. Kerr and his legacy.

For more detailed coverage than I could ever provide, I urge you to visit AUB's web site, http://www.aub.edu.lb/themes/1999/Kerr/ (which graced the AUB home page during January 1999), and view its touching tribute. I also recommend reading Come With Me From Lebanon, Ann Kerr's moving account of her and Malcolm's lives and the love of AUB and Lebanon that kept them coming back.


On to al-Qhira f Amrk