Giving to LAU


Shamma Family Endowed Fund to Encourage Entrepreneurial Business Talent at LAU

A brilliant young scholar with a passion for music and computers, Zade Julian Shamma passed away suddenly in September 2021, just two months shy of his 17th birthday. To honor Zade’s memory and dreams, his parents, Dr. Fayek and Zein Shamma, created a scholarship fund in his name to support students interested in studying finance and business at the Lebanese American University.

We are grateful to Zade’s family and community who have donated more than $125,000 to launch this fund. But this is just the beginning: the Shammas hope to grow the fund to $1 million and provide full scholarships for two students.

The decision to honor Zade in this way befits his character as an outstanding student who excelled in everything he took on. The couple chose LAU because of the current situation in Lebanon. But they had a previous LAU connection as Dr. Shamma already established a fund in memory of his late mother, Aida Cotran. An LAU alumna, Cotran was one of the first women in Lebanon to pursue an advanced degree before going on to have an illustrious career in public health. Zade was a firm believer in the value of education and had already decided to pursue a degree in business; he would undoubtedly have become a leader in his chosen field.

His mother Zein relates that while Zade built a computer from scratch at age 11, he was also an authority on world cinema with a passion for The Godfather series and Iron Man, and a gifted pianist. She continues: “He loved to read, watch old movies, and spend time with his siblings. He also cared for his family daily—he knew how to express his love for others, which is very important.” His brother Laith is a Division 1 football player who plays defensive end for the University of Toledo, while his brother Kyce, 16, is also working hard to become a college linebacker and scholar. Zade’s other siblings are Taym, 10, Stephanie, 31, and Nathalie, 34.

We at LAU promise to honor Zade’s aspirations by extending financial aid to finance and business students in perpetuity. The Shammas hope that the scholarship will be offered to young Lebanese students with a real passion for learning and curiosity. “We hope the scholarship will go to someone who chooses to educate themselves, not someone attending LAU because of family or life expectations,” said Zein.

The Shammas instilled the value of being well-rounded in Zade as well as his siblings. Zade was a young man who made a difference in the short time that he was with us. We are confident that the recipients from LAU of this new scholarship will work hard to live up to his legacy.