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Middle East University (MEU)

By Edmond Haddad


Edmond A. Haddad, Ph.D. (Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California), M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (University of Southern California), M.S. in Mathematics (University of California at Riverside). He retired in 2009 having served internationally in teaching and administration of institutions of higher learning. His association with Middle East University spans seven decades, including president (1984-1990). He served 15 years (1994-2009) at Loma Linda University as associated dean for Academic Affairs of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (formerly Graduate School) and special assistant to the Provost. In retirement, he has volunteered as chair of Loma Linda Broadcasting Network (LLBN) Arabic Channel, president of Middle East Fellowship, and other church-related activities. He is married to Ella Hasso and has one son, two daughters, six grandchildren, and one great grandson.

First Published: February 5, 2022

Middle East University (MEU) is a Christian co-educational institution of higher learning owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Middle East and North Africa Union. It is situated in the foothills of the Lebanon Mountains five miles (eight kilometers) from the center of Beirut, the capital city of the Republic of Lebanon. Beirut is one of the oldest cities in the world and a regional center of banking, commerce, fashion, and media. It has been inhabited for more than five millennia.

Middle East University is the only Adventist higher education institution in the Middle East and North Africa Union, which is made up of 20 countries, and one of the few Christian universities in the region. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. It also offers non-degree programs in the Arabic language and culture, and the English Language Institute. The Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Learning and the Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA) have both fully accredited all degrees offered by Middle East University.1

Early Developments

In 1908 George D. Keough, a missionary from Crieff, Scotland, along with his young wife, Mary, went to Egypt, mastered the Arabic language, mingled with the fellaheen (farmers) of Upper Egypt, and served as pastor and mission administrator there until 1929. As he witnessed the growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Middle East, he sensed the great need to start a training center for the young people of this challenging region.

This desire to establish such a center never left Keough’s mind as he returned to England to teach Bible at Stanborough College (now Newbold). In 1937 he accepted the invitation to return to the Middle East and be in charge of the Syrian-Egyptian Mission, with headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. He felt the time had come to put into effect the concept of starting a college where young people would receive training for Christian service in their own homeland. He presented this concept to the officers of the General Conference, W. H. Branson and H. L. Rudy, and plans were laid to establish such an institution.

G. Arthur Keough, son of George D. Keough, was offered the position of principal. He had a two-year teacher training degree from Stanborough College and, having been born in Egypt, he was fluent in Arabic and familiar with the local culture. He possessed both academic and administrative experience.2

In 1939 G. Arthur Keough founded the Adventist College of Beirut (ACB). The first Adventist elementary school had been established in the Mouseitbeh area of Beirut in 1929. Najib Ghazal, an Adventist builder/contractor, was hired to add a second floor to the elementary school to be used for the college.

The first two teachers were Ibrahim El-Khalil and Shukri Nowfel.3 World War II had begun, which made traveling difficult. Eight men constituted the first class. Five young girls were also admitted as secondary school students.4

World War II found Vichy France, allied with Germany, in control of Lebanon. This brought air raids, uncertainty, and shortages of food and supplies. Fortunately, one of the four Ghazal brothers, Melki, had a grocery store and was able to supply the school’s needs.5 But in the summer of 1940, the decision was made to transfer the school temporarily to Amman, Jordan. It operated there for one year, with enrollment increasing to 12 students. Five new students came from Egypt, and one left to teach elementary school in Jordan.6 These students called themselves “The Twelve Apostles” of the Middle East.7

The academic offerings were enhanced by the arrival of Gilbert M. Krick and his wife, Helen. He taught courses in theology and history. She taught courses in health, first aid, and nutrition.8 That second academic year, 1940-1941, saw the birth of the first student paper, College Echoes. The year culminated in the first graduation service. The first graduates were Abraham Mazlum, Camille Nowfel, and Chafic Srour.9

By the summer of 1941 Beirut was stable, and the college returned to Mouseitbeh. The third academic year started with more students from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.10 By 1943 young women were also admitted. Two apartments were rented to use as women’s and men’s dormitories. Mrs. Daas of Switzerland served as women’s dean.11 Student enrollment reached a total of 44 students, with 13 from Iraq, 12 from Lebanon, nine from Egypt, five from Syria, two from Palestine, and one each from Iran, Jordan, and Turkey. Because of limited accommodation space, a number of students were denied admission.12

In the first five years, “with limited enrollment and meager facilities, fifteen College students were baptized, and eighteen young men have been trained and are now doing successful work in various parts of the Middle East Union.”13

For the 1944-1945 academic year, the college moved to the beautiful and spacious Grand Hotel situated in Beit Mery, a summer resort town, 18 kilometers (ten miles) from Beirut, with a commanding view of Beirut and the Mediterranean. Enrollment jumped to 95, with students coming from 13 different countries: Iraq (27), Egypt (16), Iran (11), Lebanon (9), Jordan (7), Armenia (7), United States (5), Syria (4), Palestine (3), Russia (2), Turkey (2), Greece (1), and Greenland (1). There were 11 faculty members. Two years later, the college was moved to the nearby Ghasoub Hotel in Beit Mery.14

In January 1946, Frederick E. J. Harder was appointed as the third president of what was now called Middle East College. He proposed a four-year preparatory school leading to a high school certificate, a two-year curriculum ending in a junior college diploma, and upper division courses expanded to culminate in a B.A. degree with majors in history and religion. The teacher education program would be strengthened for certification by the Adventist denomination and by government ministries of education, and several vocational education programs would be developed.

After two years, the bachelor’s degree was recognized in Lebanon and Iraq, and on May 2, 1948, the college board voted “to authorize Middle East College to confer the B.A. degree beginning with this quarter for majors in the departments of Bible and History.”15

The New Earth

In November of 1944, through the generosity of the Hasso brothers of Baghdad, Bashir and Nassif, the college acquired the 70-acre plot of land which was to become the permanent location for its campus. The site is located in the foothills of the Lebanon mountains in Sad El-Bouchrieh, eight kilometers (five miles) from the center of Beirut.16

In 1945 the college board approved plans and construction began. Each day students traveled the 12 kilometers from the Grand Hotel in Beit Mery, where the college was located, to the new property to help with the work, singing as they went. They called the campus “The New Earth.”17

In June 1946 the foundations were begun for the men’s and women’s dormitories. In mid-July, L. J. Norris, the college business manager, returned from Egypt with much needed World War II army surplus equipment: a concrete mixer, a bulldozer, two diesel generators, a printing press, laundry equipment, 4,000 sheets of plywood, and many more urgently needed items.18

On October 15, 1946, His excellency Sheikh Bishara El Khoury, president of the Republic of Lebanon, laid the cornerstone for the men’s dormitory in the presence of a large entourage that came with him. A hollow had been cut in the stone. In it was placed “a brief history of the college, names of the board members and faculty, plus a new Roosevelt dime, and a Lebanese coin.”19

The 1947-1948 academic year was conducted on the new campus. The walls of the dormitories were not plastered and the floors were concrete and not tiled, but students were excited to live in “The New Earth.” The ground floor of the girls’ dormitory housed the kitchen, the dining room (which doubled as chapel), the library, classrooms, and the administrative offices.20

The Vocational Education Building housed the College Wood Products (CWP), the printing press, power plant, vocational classrooms, and maintenance facility. CWP produced all the chairs, tables, desks, dressers, and doors for the campus. The college took orders from clients in Beirut to manufacture desks, tables, and chairs.21

The first ten years of the school (1939-1948) saw very active and robust extra-curricular activities being conducted by the students and faculty. By the end of 1947-1948, 40 percent of the students and 100 percent of the faculty were Master Guides. The students joined groups for correspondence, literature distribution, mission, prayer, ministry, and Sunshine Bands. Boarding students had “Men of Might Club” for the men and “True Comrades in Service Club” for the women. All the students participated in the annual Harvest Ingathering campaign.22

The first commencement exercises at MEC took place in the spring of 1948. The first Bachelor of Arts degrees were conferred on Adeeb Fargo of Iraq (religion and history) and Shahine Ouzounian of Turkey (religion).23

The Thriving Decades

In 1949 Presidential Decree Number 14327 was followed by the Lebanese Ministry of Education issuing Permit Number 1085 granting Middle East College permission to offer secondary and higher education level courses.24 This affirmation of the position of the college in the educational arena became evident in the dynamic growth that was to be realized in the decades that followed.

At the General Conference Autumn Council in 1950, plans were made to build a small radio studio on the campus of MEC. Wadie Farag, radio secretary of the Middle East Division, was the speaker. Robert Hasso and his wife, Mary Jo, were the technician and music director, respectively, and a number of the college students and workers provided vocal and instrumental music. July 3, 1953, marked the first of the weekly Arabic broadcasts from the Radio Ceylon station. This was the first Arabic radio broadcast for the SDA Church in the Middle East.25

In the 1960s a deep well was drilled on campus that had the capacity to supply the needed water for the campus.26 A number of buildings were funded and constructed. In 1955 construction of the administration building (now University Hall) was completed. Ten years later a fourth floor was added to equip a growing college with an adequate library and biology, chemistry, and physics laboratories.27 In 1956 two new buildings were constructed: one to house the bakery and the store, and the other to serve as the Arabic Elementary School, under the guidance of Edith C. Davis. The school building itself was built by George S. Ghazal and another college student—a testimony to how the college administration was encouraging vocational education.28 The year 1957 marked the opening of the new College Service, which housed the bakery, the self-service food store, and a gasoline service station.29

From 1955 to 1958 four new majors were added to the curriculum: business administration, elementary teacher education, secondary teacher education, and English.30 MEC was also “established as the first overseas branch of . . . Home Study International.”31

In 1959 enrollment reached 162, the largest it had ever been. The students came largely from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, plus Austria, Ethiopia, Germany, and the United States. By the fall quarter of 1961 it reached 192 students. As a result, the second floor of the men’s dormitory became so crowded that it necessitated the construction of a third floor to house the overflow.32

The expansion of the college industrial program continued through the 1960s. The 1961 first-quarter Thirteenth Sabbath Overflow Offering was instrumental in improving the manufacturing of peanut butter, the purchase of an ice cream machine, the construction of a poultry structure, and the bakery expansion to meet the demands of “College Maid” products.33 In 1963 a new water well was drilled below the administration building, and a large reservoir was constructed at the upper campus to provide for the increasing demand for water for domestic and agricultural use.

By the end of 1963, the construction of a new entrance to the college ushered in the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Middle East College. To mark the occasion, 25 flame trees were planted around campus. The Middle East Division gave the college two new pianos. In 1939 MEC enrolled eight students. Twenty-five years later the enrollment was 181 students.34 At the time of the 25th anniversary, four of the eight mission fields of the Middle East Division were led by national presidents, all graduates of Middle East College.35

From 1965 to 1970, a combined natural science major was added to the curriculum, as well as limited pre-professional programs such as pre-nursing, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, and pre-engineering.36 An affiliation agreement was signed with Loma Linda University, making MEC degrees accredited.37 The college choir and brass band performed in Beirut and other Lebanese towns, and in the capitals of Iraq and Jordan. College students and faculty members conducted evangelistic meetings or church services in all Adventist churches in Lebanon.38 A three-story apartment building was completed housing six faculty families, and two new sports courts were constructed.39

In 1969, due to government regulations, Middle East College Secondary School separated from MEC and moved to its present location, one mile down Sabtiyeh (Arabic for “Sabbath-keeping”) Hill. Its name was changed to Bouchrieh Adventist Secondary School.40

In 1970 Middle East College became the senior college for the newly organized Afro-Mideast Division that consisted of four unions: Middle East Union, East African Union, Ethiopian Union, and Tanzanian Union. Thus, the college started drawing students from the continent of Africa.41 The enrollment almost doubled, with the student body representing 32 different nationalities. More than 15 percent of the students came from countries outside the Afro-Mideast Division. Three majors were added to the curriculum: biology, chemistry, and mathematics. MEC sent Daniel Wehbe, its first student missionary, to Bugema Adventist College in Uganda. He was also the first student missionary to be sent from any Adventist college outside the North America Division.42

The Crisis Period

The decades of the 1950s through the first half of the 1970s were the golden years. Enrollment in 1974-1975 stood at 240 students from 33 countries. Teachers were upgraded. Faculty members reached 38. The bakery employed up to 25 students. The “College Maid” brand became extremely popular in Lebanon, and shipped products across the desert to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Presidents of universities, government ministers, members of parliament, and other high officials visited MEC and, in some cases, gave the commencement address.43

In the fall of 1975, the civil war in Lebanon ushered in a period of 15 years (1975-1990) of destruction and suffering. The college was the only institution of higher learning in Lebanon that stayed open for the entire 1975-1976 school year.

In 1977 the college cafeteria was serving supper when a rocket hit the wall of the building, sending debris flying through the cafeteria just above people’s heads. Thanks to God’s care, no one was seriously injured. Had the point of impact been one foot to the side, the rocket would have gone through the window and exploded inside, undoubtedly causing mass casualties.44

The war in Lebanon made it very hard to recruit students and faculty. On October 25, 1978, a bullet severed a high-tension electric wire at the campus gate. It fell on the college gateman and electrocuted him. This tragic incident propelled the Afro-Mideast Division Committee to evacuate all non-Lebanese workers, and plans were made to shut down Middle East College and move it to East Africa. The plan was to close the college permanently and move all equipment and books from Middle East College to Kenya, giving scholarships for current students to finish at sister colleges.45 However, under the leadership of Manoug Nazirian, an arrangement was reached to reopen Middle East College as a union institution with the moral and financial support of the Afro-Mideast Division.46

Before the mass evacuation in 1984, the student enrollment stood at 216 students from 13 countries. After the evacuation, the campus consisted of fewer than 50 students, one full-time teacher and five part-time teachers.47 Dr. Edmond Haddad “was called to direct Middle East College at this critical time. Middle East College began to perform its regular function again by offering three majors in the areas of education, religion, and business administration.”48

A call was sent to all church employees, holders of master’s degrees or higher, to join the college teaching faculty. The length of the academic term was changed to four-week sessions. Only the academic majors of business administration, education, and religion were maintained. A spiritual atmosphere commensurate with a Christian college was being re-established.49

By the spring of 1987, enrollment had risen to 84 students. For growth and development, however, the college needed teachers in English, mathematics, sciences, computers, and archaeology/biblical languages, and an infusion of funds.

The academic year 1988-1989 marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Middle East College. A series of convocations were held in Lebanon and at three Golden Anniversary convocations in different geographical regions of the United States: La Sierra, California; Walla Walla, Washington; and Washington D.C. The southern California gathering initiated a goal of one million dollars to complete the gymnasium-auditorium complex that was started in 1974.50

The last years of the war were especially trying, with a major currency devaluation, as well as bombardment of the campus.51 Beirut and its suburbs experienced extreme swings in warfare activities. Sometimes the ceasefire lasted a few weeks, and sometimes the rockets and bombs rained for hours every day. About 100 rockets or incendiary bombs fell on various parts of the 70-acre campus. None of the campus buildings were directly hit. Not one person on campus was hurt. However, the blasts and bullets shattered windows and left pockmarks in the walls.

The campus residents were stressed, but they felt God’s protection over the college. One of the neighbors said that they felt safe because “we knew that God’s presence is there… and since we live on the fringes of MEC, we thought that we could also be under the shadow of His protective care.”52

God continued to provide, and the faculty and staff faithfully continued their work.53 Dr. Edmond Haddad rallied the national work force. Middle East University today owes its existence and future to the unflinching zeal and courage of the national workers who kept the college open against all odds.54

The Rebuilding Period

The end of civil war in 1990 ushered in a new era of rebuilding the college academically, financially, and physically.

With stability in Lebanon and the return of a normal way of life, the enrollment of students from the Middle East and other countries started increasing. In 1991 Middle East College hosted an Anti-Pollution Symposium, which featured the Minister of Environment, as well as professors from major universities.55 The college signed an agreement of cooperation with La Sierra University. National teachers were sponsored for advanced study abroad and locally.56

The college had a small number of Adventist dormitory students and a much larger number of day students, most of whom did not share the Adventist philosophy and were mainly interested in business studies. Membership in the Lebanese Adventist community after the war was much smaller than before. Also, the college had previously served the Afro-Mideast Division (AMD) which had a large pool of young people. Now the college belonged only to the Middle East Union, with a fraction of the AMD membership. Hence the college-age Adventist market was much smaller. Before the civil war, the Adventist Church subsidized 80 to 85 percent of the college budget. After the civil war, the Church subsidy covered only the expatriate budgets and 50 percent of the national budgets. By the beginning of the 21st century, the college became responsible for all of the national workers’ budgets.57

To face this new situation, the college board recommended selling part of the college land, to allow income from a large group of non-Adventist students to support a small Adventist student population, and to maintain a distinctive Adventist ethos.58 MEC sold 12,000 square meters (four percent of the land it owned) in order to refurbish its own deteriorating structures. The renovation included upgrading the teaching facilities and offices, providing a larger and more up-to-date library, modernizing the cafeteria, and improving dormitory facilities and recreational areas. Some of the faculty homes that had been mere shells for years were finally refurbished when the Middle East Union moved back from Cyprus in 2006-2007.59

The college gradually expanded its offerings of new concentrations in business, and a B.S. in computer science was introduced in 1997. To address the growing demand for advanced degrees, and to attract students who did not meet Lebanese entrance requirements, Middle East College started offering two external degree programs. One was “a graduate degree program operated in cooperation with Intercollege, Larnaca, Cyprus leading to an MBA degree from Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands.” The other “was a BS degree in Business Management from Griggs University in Maryland, U.S.A.”60

The dawn of the 21st century found Middle East College, one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Lebanon, elevated to university status with three schools: the Faculty of Business Administration, the Faculty of Education, and the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology.61

Middle East University (MEU) launched a promotional campaign using TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, etc. The enrollment grew from 166 in 2002 to 217 in 2003. Two former presidents of the college, Thomas Geraty and Joseph Estephan and his wife, Annette, and Mrs. Mary Jo Hasso, former librarian and English teacher, returned to MEU to support it.62

In 2003 Mr. Camille Nowfel, a member of the first graduating class of 1941, visited campus. He had a distinguished career with the U. S. Department of State and had the privilege of being the official Arabic interpreter for five United States Presidents. He addressed and presented an analysis of the role of the United States in Middle East affairs. He assured the students that their success in life was, to a great extent, built on the foundation and values they acquired at this university.63

In 2003 the university started two off-campus diploma programs in pastoral training in Arua, South Sudan, and Khartoum, Sudan. The university also operated on-campus training programs for elementary and secondary education.64

The renovation of the administration building, now called University Hall, was completed in 2005. The floor space of the library was doubled and classrooms and offices were improved. Other facilities such as the first floor of the men’s dormitory, now called North Hall, was remodeled. The cafeteria was upgraded extensively, campus walkways were paved, and new sports facilities were constructed. More than half of the money from the sale of land was spent on renovations.65

At the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century, MEU experienced a growth in enrollment that reached a maximum of 217 students (Fall term 2003). By the Fall term of 2009, enrollment had decreased to 179 students. The university/college recruitment practices had been able to attract very few high school students from Adventist secondary schools. Egypt and Sudan requested MEU to conduct off-campus programs in their countries because their students could not afford the high cost of living in Lebanon. Since MEU had been offering new programs such as the MA in education, the MBA, and intensive Arabic Language Institute courses, it was decided to expand student recruitment from mainly Lebanon to Adventist students throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world.66

During this same period, the university formed a fourth faculty—the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which housed the departments of computer science (consisting of computer science, graphic design, and digital media), general studies through Griggs University, and the English Language Institute, and English. The departments of history and biology were put on hold. The Bachelor of Science in graphic design and digital media was a new program that boosted enrollment. MEU was the only university in Lebanon that offered such a program.67

In the Autumn of 2007, the Heritage and Culture Center was established with the main objective of contributing to the safeguarding, preserving, promoting, and defining of Lebanese cultural heritage. The “Golden Pin” prize was initiated to honor prominent Lebanese figures who played a key role in meeting the above objectives. The first event was the book signing “لكِ أناشيدي” (To You, My Songs) by Professor Mounif Moussa, held on May 3, 2007, during which the painter Youhanna Bou Saba donated the painting “Cadmus Teaching the Phoenician Alphabet to the Greeks.” It is currently decorating the wall of the main entrance to the Keogh Library.68

By the 2012-2013 school year, student enrollment increased to 204 students. The university enlarged its outreach to include three layers: the Adventist international community, the local Lebanese community, and the training of Middle East and North Africa Union future leaders. The university provided avenues in which students were trained and participated in programs such as Waldensian Students, Tentmakers, and Global Mission Pioneers.69

The spiritual, relational, and cultural growth of students was enriched through dual participation in in-reach and outreach events. These activities consisted of weekly prayer meetings, Weeks of Spiritual Emphasis, participating in the choir, and visiting refugee families. The “4 Your Life Center” was opened as a community outreach initiative. The students, under the supervision of faculty members, addressed community health needs, conducted health fairs, taught fitness classes, and directed family summer camps. The community outreach initiative was complemented with hikes to historical sites such as the famous Dog River inscriptions, “history carved in stone,” day trips to artistic creation of nature such as Jeita Grottoes, and participation in the International Beirut Marathon.

The June 2014 graduation ceremonies marked the zenith of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the university. Alumni and friends came from different countries of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the USA to pay tribute to their alma mater. To mark the 75th anniversary, MEU commenced fundraising for two much-needed facilities: a Worship and Music Center and a Health and Fitness Center.70

On December 16, 2015, an affiliation agreement was established between MEU and Andrews University. On April 18, 2016, the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Learning granted the university the right to form agreements to offer dual degrees with partner institutions. MEU hosted a high-level international Oil & Gas Symposium.70 A collaboration was begun with Bogenhofen in Austria for an education degree.71 A Bachelor of Science degree in biology, with emphases in pre-med and general biology was begun. Middle East Fellowship, in California, funded the transformation of the former bakery and college store space into the department of natural sciences and health.72 The Faculty of Philosophy and Theology started offering a new Master of Arts degree in Islamic Studies.73

The second decade of the 21st century has reflected steady transformation of the identity and ethos of MEU. Students have been baptized on campus. MEU faculty and students have offered a series of well-received programs—science fairs, writing contests, and summer art, business, and science camps to get better acquainted with the community. Students have been involved in student-led health expos, Beyond Walls art projects, canvassing Adventist literature, distributing clothing and food to refugees, and international service trips to Nigeria, Jordan, and Malawi.

On May 24, 2019, MEU Board of Trustees voted an updated Strategic Campus Master Plan. It envisions a multi-function building consisting of a worship/music center, a MENA media center, a student center/cafeteria, and a fitness center.74

The 80th anniversary celebration in November 2019 was themed “Welcome Home Children.” This was also the title of a bronze bust of Jesus that Victor Issa, one of the foremost narrative Lebanese-American sculptors, presented to the university in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of its establishment.

The school years of 2020 and 2021 were unprecedented. Lebanon experienced social, economic, and political crises, compounded by the Beirut seaport explosion that destroyed almost half of the city. The coronavirus pandemic forced a shift to remote teaching and online instruction, and robbed MEU of one of its long-time faculty members, Refaat Abdalla. But God is good. By His grace, through over a year of teaching online, students and teachers managed to adapt and continue learning, and enrollment went up, not down.

Looking back over the last 80 years, one cannot but see the hand of God graciously and tenderly leading and protecting Middle East University through decades of growth and peace as well as periods of decline and crises. The university continues to vigorously pursue its historic mission of educating nationals and others for church leadership on all levels and serving society at large.

Names of School

Adventist College of Beirut (1939-1946)

Middle East College (1946-2001)

Middle East University (2001-present)

Student Publications

College Echoes 1941-1945

Pine Echoes 1954-present (not published every year)

Pine Nuts 1971-1974

Voice of MEC 1955-2001 (not published every month)

Voice of MEU 2001-present (not published every month)

School Presidents

G. Arthur Keough (1939-1944, 1961-1965); Gilbert M. Krick (1944-1946, 1950-1951);

Frederick E. J. Harder (1946-1950); Thomas S. Geraty (1951-1955, 1957-1959); Cecil L. Gemmell (interim 1955-1957); Robert C. Darnell (interim 1959-1960); E. L. Gammon (1960-1961); Kenneth L. Vine (1965-1971); Ole C. Bjerkan (1971-1974); Ralph L. Koorenny (1974-1978); Joseph Estephan (1978-1980); Donald O. Eichner (1980-1984); Edmond A. Haddad (1984-1990); Manoug O. Nazirian (1990-1993); Juanito Villagomez (1993-1997); Svein L. Myklebust (1997-2008); Milan Bajic (interim 2008-2009); Leif Hongisto (2009-2017); Larry Lichtenwalter (2018-present).


“Adventist College of Beirut Opens in Amman.” News. College Echoes, February 1941.

“Afro-Mideast Division Report to General Conference Session.” ARH, Afro-Mideast Edition (April 1980).

American University of Beirut.” (Online). Accessed November 3, 2020.

Appel, George J. “Radio Evangelism.” Middle East Messenger, Third Quarter, 1953.

“Beirut College for Women.” (Online). Accessed November 3, 2020.

Bjerken, Ole C. “From the President’s Desk.” Voice of MEC, January 1974.

Bjerken, Ole C. “President’s Report.” Middle East College Board, November 1971.

“Boushrieh Adventist Secondary School.” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996.

Branson, E. L. “A Sign of Growth.” College Echoes, May 1944.

Branson, E. L. “Nine Years of Progress.” Middle East Messenger, (May 1948).

“Choir Sings in Beirut Church.” Voice of MEC, December 1968.

“Daniel Wehbe Named First Student Missionary.” Voice of MEC, June 1972.

Darnell, Robert C. “Middle East College Today.” Middle East Messenger, Fourth Quarter, 1959.

Dart, Charles. Letter to Dr. Anees Haddad, August 4, 1988.

“Dr. Vine Appointed President of Middle East College.” Middle East Messenger, May-June 1965.

Farah, Raja, and Armond Manassian. “Academic Report of the Faculties,” MEU Board of Trustees, December 3, 2001.

Fargo, Adib. “A Word of Appreciation: the College Kitchen.” College Echoes, March 1944.

Geraty, Thomas S. “Middle East College 1951-1959: Historical Observations.” Letter to Edmond Haddad, 1989.

Geraty, Thomas S. “Our Growing College.” Middle East Messenger, Second Quarter 1955.

Gott, George T. “New College Service Center.” Middle East Messenger, Second Quarter 1957.

“Gymnasium-Auditorium.” Voice of MEC, January 1974.

Haddad, Edmond A. “Academic Dean’s Report.” MEC Board of Directors, October 27, 1982.

Haddad, Edmond A. “Of Dreams and Miracles.” Address at Middle East University 75th Anniversary, June 20, 2014.

Haddad, Edmond A. “President’s Report.” MEC Board of Directors, May 8, 1985.

Haddad, Edmond A. “President’s Report.” MEC Board of Directors, May 26, 1987.

Harder, Fredrick E. J. “Middle East College: Highlights of 1946-1950.” Letter to Edmond Haddad, March 16, 1989.

Harder, Fredrick E. J. “President’s Message.” Middle East Messenger, May 1948.

Hasso-Standing, Mary Jo. “Camile Nowfel Speaks at Student Assembly.MEU Alumni, April 2003.

“Historical Sketch.” Middle East College Bulletin 1945-1950.

Hongisto, Leif, and Milan Bajic. “Academic Report of the Faculties.” MEU Year-End Meeting, November 2009.

Hongisto, Leif. “President’s Report.” MEU Spring Session, April 15, 2013.

Hongisto, Leif. “President’s Report.” MEU Annual Report, May 29, 2016.

Howe, P. “Progressive Classes.” College Echoes, April 1944.

“Intercollege” and “Maastricht School of Management.” Middle East College Supplemental to Catalogue 1998-2000.

Jensen, Leif. “Baghdad Hosts Youth Crusaders.” Voice of MEC, March 1967.

Johnson, S. W. “A College under Construction.” Middle East Messenger, May 1948.

Johnson, S. W. “We Set New High Records…” Middle East Messenger, August-September 1948.

Kaler, Eddie K. “A Brief History of the Department of Vocational Education.” Voice of MEC, February 1957.

Karst, Gerry. “Thoughts about MEC.” Letter to Edmond Haddad, July 18, 2019.

Keough, Arthur. “A Message to the Graduate.” College Echoes, June 1941.

Keough, Arthur. “Another Step Forward.” College Echoes, January 1944.

Keough, Arthur. “Middle East College: Early Beginnings.” Letter to Edmond A. Haddad, March 14, 1989.

Keough, Dora J. “The Hand of God in the Last Five Years of Progress.” College Echoes, June 1944.

Khalaf, Salim. “Choir Sings at Sidon.” Voice of MEC, February 1968.

Khalil, Fawzia. “The New Earth.” College Echoes, April 1945.

Khoury, Joseph F. “Academic Dean’s Report 1974-1975.” Middle East College Board, May 1975.

Koorenny, Ralph L. “President’s Report.” Middle East College Board of Directors, November 1976.

Krick, Gilbert M. “The Influence of an Adventist College in My Life.” College Echoes, January 1945.

“Lebanon College President Tells of Homeland Troubles.” Loma Linda University Observer, August 7, 1984.

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  1. Middle East University Academic Catalog 2018-2020, 13.

  2. At that time there were only two institutions of higher learning in Lebanon that followed the American system of education: American University of Beirut (1866) and Beirut College for Women (1924), renamed Lebanese American University. Saint Joseph University (1875) was one institution that followed the French system of education. Michael Sidawi, “‘From Middle East College’ to ‘Middle East University,’” Middle East University Alumni 5, no. 1 (April 2002): 8. “American University of Beirut,” (online), accessed November 3, 2020, “Beirut College for Women,” (online), accessed November 3, 2020, G. Arthur Keough, “Middle East College: Early Beginnings,” Letter to Edmond A. Haddad, (March 14, 1989).

  3. Raja Farah, interviewed by Edmond A. Haddad, Beirut, Lebanon, (July 30, 2019). “A Word of Appreciation and a Word of Welcome,” College Echoes 1, no. 1 (February 1941): 8.

  4. Keough, Letter.

  5. Farah, Interview. Keough, Letter. Adib Fargo, “A Word of Appriciation: the College Kitchen,” College Echoes 4, no. 2 (March 1944): 12.

  6. College Echoes 1, no. 1 (February 1941): 11. Keough, Letter. Nazirian, Manoug, ed., Middle East College 50th Anniversary 1939-1989: An Illustrated History of Middle East College, unpublished manuscript.

  7. College Echoes 4, no. 5 (June 1944): 12. “Apostles of the Middle East,” Middle East Messenger, January- February 1948, 12. College Echoes 1, no. 2 (June 1941): 1.

  8. Nazirian, "Middle East College 50th Anniversary," College Echoes 1, no.1 (February 1941): 9.

  9. G. Arthur Keough, “A Message to the Graduates,” College Echoes 1, no. 2 (June 1941): 2, 8.

  10. Keough, Letter. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  11. Samira Hasso-Fargo, interview by Edmond Haddad, Loma Linda, California, (October 24, 2019). Philip and Sarah Srour, interview by Edmond A. Haddad, Loma Linda, California, (October 20, 2019). G. Arthur Keough, “Another Step Forward,” College Echoes 4, no. 1 (January 1944): 1, 3.

  12. Keough, “Another Step Forward”: 3.

  13. Dora J. Keough, “The Hand of God in the Last Five Years of Progress,” College Echoes 4, no. 5 (June 1944): 10.

  14. “Within the Walls of the College,” College Echoes 5, no. 1 (January 1945): 11.

  15. E. L. Branson, “Nine Years of Progress,” Middle East Messenger, May 1948, 13. Frederick E. J. Harder, “Middle East College: Highlights of 1946-1950,” Letter to Edmond Haddad (March 16, 1989). Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  16. E. L. Branson, “Nine Years of Progress,” Middle East Messenger, May 1948, 13. Edmond A. Haddad, “Of Dreams and Miracles,” an address presented at Middle East University 75th Anniversary (June 20, 2014).

  17. Hasso-Fargo, interview. Fawzia Khalil, “The New Earth,” College Echoes 5, no. 2 (April 1945): 14. Branson, “Nine Years of Progress”: 14. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  18. S. W. Johnson, “A College under Construction,” Middle East Messenger, May 1948, 14. Fredrick E. J. Harder, “Middle East College: Highlights of 1946 1950”: 2. E. K Kaler, “A Brief History of the Department of Vocational Education,” Voice of MEC 4, no. 2 (February 1957): 3.

  19. Harder, Letter: 4, 5.

  20. Harder, Letter: 2. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  21. Harder, Letter: 2. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  22. S. W. Johnson, “We Set New High Records,” Middle East Messenger, August-September 1948, 68. College Echoes 4, no. 3 (April 1944): 7-19. Middle East Messenger, March 1948, 23. College Echoes 4, no. 1 (January 1944): 13, 19.

  23. Middle East Messenger, May 1948, 6, 11, 13.

  24. The Republic of Lebanon, “Decree Number 14327” (February 15, 1949). The Lebanese Ministry of Education, “Permit Number 1085” (February 1949).

  25. George J. Appel, “Radio Evangelism,” Middle East Messenger, Third Quarter 1953, 1. “Middle East College,” Middle East Messenger, January-February 1964, 5.

  26. Middle East College Bulletin (1949-1950): 8. Harder, Letter: 3. “Middle East College,” Middle East Messenger, Second Quarter 1962. 8.

  27. Thomas S. Geraty, “Our Growing College,” Middle East Messenger, Second Quarter 1955, 1.

  28. George S. Ghazal, Interview with Edmond A. Haddad, Redlands, California, (November 11, 2019). Middle East Messenger, Third Quarter 1956. 7.

  29. George T. Gott, “New College Service Center,” Middle East Messenger, Second Quarter 1957, 3. Middle East Messenger, First Quarter 1959): 7.

  30. Martin Modi, ed., Pine Echoes 98 & 99—60th Anniversary, “Milestones in the History of MEC”: 27.

  31. Thomas S. Geraty, “Middle East College 1950-1959: Historical Observations,” Letter to Edmond A. Haddad (1989): 2.

  32. Robert C. Darnell, “Middle East College Today,” Middle East Messenger, Fourth Quarter 1959, 8.

  33. Middle East Messenger, First Quarter 1962): 8.

  34. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (1996): 66. “Middle East College,” Middle East Messenger, November-December 1963, 5. “Middle East College,” Middle East Messenger, January-February 1964, 5.

  35. “Quadrennial Session Elects Officers, Votes Plans,” Middle East Messenger, January-February 1963, 1.

  36. “Yacoub Announces Bulletin Changes,” Voice of MEC 9, no. 4 (February 1969): 5.

  37. “Dr. Vine Appointed President of Middle East College,” Middle East Messenger, May-June 1965, 1.

  38. “Mr. McGhee Organizes Bands,” Voice of MEC 6, no. 1 (February 1959): 1. Leif Jensen, “Baghdad Hosts Youth Crusaders,” Voice of MEC 7, no. 1 (March 1967): 1. Salim Khalaf, “Choir Sings at Sidon,” Voice of MEC 8, no. 4 (February 1968): 1. “Choir Appears in Evangelical Church,” Voice of MEC 8, no. 8 (June 1968): 2. “Choir Sings in Beirut Church,” Voice of MEC 9, no. 2 (December 1968): 4. “Bass Choir Plays,” Voice of MEC 10, no. 5 (March-April 1970): 5.

  39. “New Apartment Building Begun for Faculty and Staff,” “Tennis Courts Near Completion,” and “New Water Well,” Voice of MEC 7, no. 2 (April 1967): 3, 5, 6. Voice of MEC 8, no. 8 (June 1968): 1.

  40. “Secondary School Construction Begins,” Voice of MEC 9, no. 3 (January 1969): 1. “Boushrieh Adventist Secondary School,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (1969): 225.

  41. Ole C. Bjerkan, “From the President’s Desk,” Voice of MEC 14, no. 1 (January 1974): 5.

  42. “LLU Okays Majors,” Voice of MEC 12, no. 4 (March 1972): 3. Ole C. Bjerkan, “President’s Report,” Middle East College Board, (November 1971): 4, 5, 9. “Daniel Wehbe Named First Student Missionary,” Voice of MEC 12, no. 7 (June 1972): 5.

  43. “MEC Recognized by Iraq,” Voice of MEC 14, no. 1 (January 1974): 1, 5, 6. Voice of MEC 3, no. 3 & 4 (January and February 1956): 3. “Informal Reception Held for Austrian Ambassador,” Voice of MEC 8, no. 1 (November 1967): 2. “Dr. Bustani Speaks at Graduation,” Voice of MEC 8, no. 9 (August 1968): 1. Voice of MEC 10, no. 4 (February 1970): 1. Ole C. Bjerkan, “President’s Report,” Middle East College Board, (November 1971): 2, 9. Joseph F. Khoury, “Academic Dean’s Report 1974-1975,” Middle East College Board, (May 1975).

  44. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  45. Ralph L. Koorenny, “President’s Report,” Middle East College Board, (November 1976): 1, 5. “Afro-Mideast Division Report to General Conference Session,” ARH, Afro-Mideast Edition (April 1980): 5, 16. Violet Wentland, On The Edge of The Battlefield: A College Struggles in War-Torn Lebanon (Enumclaw: Wine Press Publishing, 2012): 48, 49, 223-235.

  46. Ralph L. Koorenny, “President’s Report,” Middle East College Board, November 1976, 1, 5. “Afro-Mideast Division Report to General Conference Session,” ARH, Afro-Mideast Edition, April 1980, 5, 16. Wentland, On The Edge of The Battlefield, 48, 49, 23-235. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  47. Edmond A. Haddad, “Academic Dean’s Report,” MEC Board of Directors (October 27, 1982). “Lebanon College President Tells of Homeland Troubles,” Loma Linda University Observer, August 7, 1984, 1.

  48. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  49. Edmond A. Haddad, “President’s Report,” MEC Board of Directors (May 8, 1985). Farah, interview.

  50. Edmond A. Haddad, “President’s Report,” MEC Board of Directors (May 26, 1987). “Gymnasium-Auditorium Construction,” Voice of MEC 14, no. 1 (January 1974): 6. “Rockets’ Red Glare Scares Beirut Faculty Away,” San Bernardino Sun, (August 1, 1984): B-1.

  51. Nazirian, Middle East College 50th Anniversary.

  52. Eileen Manassian, “Invincible in ’87,” Voice of MEC 18, no. 1 (1987): 1.

  53. Manoug Nazirian, “President’s Report,” MEC Board of Directors (October 29, 1990).

  54. Gerry Karst, “Thoughts about MEC,” Letter to Edmond Haddad (July 18, 2019).

  55. Manoug Nazirian, “President’s Report,” MEC Board of Directors (November 19, 1991).

  56. MEC Minutes of the Board of Directors (November 3, 1987). Ignatius Yacoub, “Academic Dean’s Report,” Middle East College Board (November 2, 1969). “MEC Hosts LLU President,” Voice of MEC 8, no. 6 (April 1968): 1. MEC Minutes of the Board of Directors (November 16, 1992). The Report of Middle East University to the Constituency Meeting in Egypt Sep. 3, 2001, for the period 1995-2000. MEC Board of Directors Meeting (December 4, 2000).

  57. Svein Myklebust, “Middle East University: Reflections,” Letter to Edmond Haddad (October 31, 2019). Svein Myklebust, Letter to Shahin Ilter, copies to T. S. Geraty, Edmond Haddad, and Kenneth Vine (September 8, 1998).

  58. Myklebust, Letter to Ilter. MEC Strategic Planning Committee Minutes (February 23 & 24, 1998). Svein Myklebust, “President’s Reports,” MEC Board of Directors, (December 4, 2000).

  59. Myklebust, Letter to Haddad.

  60. Myklebust, Letter to Ilter. The Report of Middle East University to the Constituency Meeting. Middle East College Supplemental to Catalogue 1998-2000: 2.

  61. Michael Sidawi, “‘From Middle East College’ to ‘Middle East University,’” Middle East University Alumni, April 2002, 8. Farah, interview. Svein Myklebust, “President’s Report,” MEU Year-End Meetings (December 3, 2001). Levon Maksoudian, “Report on the Visit to His Excellency President Emile Lahhoud,” Middle East College Alumni, April 2001, 7.

  62. Svein Myklebust, “President’s Report,” MEU Year-End Meetings, (December 1, 2002). Raja Farah & Armond Manassian, “Academic Reports of the Faculties,” MEU Year-End Meetings, (December 3, 2001). Svein Myklebust, “President’s Report,” MEU Year-End Meetings, (December 2003). Thomas S. Geraty, “Dr. Geraty Reacts to MEU and its Milieu,” Middle East University Alumni 4, no. 1 (April 2003): 5.

  63. Mary Jo Hasso-Standing, ed., “Camille Nowfel Speaks at Student Assembly,” Middle East University Alumni 4, no. 1 (April 2003): 2. Camille Nowfel, telephone interview with Edmond A. Haddad, Washington D.C. (November 11, 2019).

  64. Svein Myklebust, “President’s Report,” MEU Year-End Meetings (December 2003). Armond Manassian, “Academic Dean’s Report,” MEU Year-End Meetings (December 2003).

  65. Svein Myklebust, “President’s Report,” MEU Year-End Meetings (December 4, 2005).

  66. Middle East University Strategic Planning Committee (November 10, 2008).

  67. Leif Hongisto and Milan Bajic, “MEU Academic Report of the Faculties,” Middle East University Year-End Meetings (November 2009). Middle East University Strategic Planning Committee (November 10, 2008).

  68. Farid Khoury, personal knowledge, Founder and Director of the Heritage and Culture Center.

  69. Leif Hongisto, “President’s Report,” MEU Spring Session (April 15, 2013).

  70. Middle East University 75 Years 1939-2014: Graduation Ceremonies 2014, MEU Worship & Music Center, and MEU Health & Wellness Center (brochures).Leif Hongisto, “President’s Report,” MEU Annual Report (May 29, 2016): 9-14.

  71. Larry Lichtenwalter, “President’s Reports,” MEU Mid-Year Report (May 24, 2018): 6.

  72. Middle East University Pine Echoes 2016-201775, 76. Leif Hongisto, “President’s Report,” MEU Annual Report (May 29, 2016): 11, 14.

  73. Middle East University Mid-Year Report (May 24, 2019): 12.

  74. Larry Lichtenwalter, “President’s Reports,” MEU Mid-Year Report (May 24, 2019): 6.


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