Athletics Endowed Scholarship Fund: Alumni Athletes Give Back

January 10, 2023

It’s been more than two decades since varsity soccer player Ramzi Shbaklo ’01 was named LAU Athlete of the Year. The imprint it made on him has never faded. Athletics complemented his academic aspirations and lent his LAU experience an added dimension. As the Roman adage counsels: mens sana in corpore sano.

Observing the financial crisis in Lebanon, it pained Shbaklo to think that new generations of talented athletes in the country might not have the same opportunities that he once did to play competitive sports while pursuing one of the best educations in the Middle East. Thus, the idea sprang up to establish a scholarship fund for student-athletes.

As one of the scholarship’s founders Marc Chehwane explains, “This initiative aims to attract promising young athletes while supporting them in pursuing an LAU education. In the midst of unmitigated disaster in Lebanon, we decided to take a proactive approach by starting this unique initiative.”

Other former LAU athletes soon joined the project, including Tarek Renno, Bassam Khoury, Bilal Bekdache, Adam Hoteit, Rafic Naamani, and Mohamad Rifai. All felt that sports had instilled in them habits of hard work, persistence, and integrity. Because it is an endowment, the LAU Athletics Endowed Scholarship Fund will ensure a lasting stream of income that will carry forward both the spirit of student-athletes and LAU’s commitment to education in perpetuity.

Athletics at LAU are particularly robust, with varsity teams active in many sports, including basketball, football, volleyball, and tennis. These teams regularly participate in intercollegiate athletics events, nationally and internationally. LAU even sports rugby and Taekwondo teams that have been Lebanese champions many times over. Just a few weeks ago, three LAU alumnae were on the Lebanese National Team that defeated Jordan for the West Asian Women’s volleyball championships in a 3-0 rout!

Learn more about the initiative making a difference in the lives of young athletes.