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The Maroun Semaan Chemical Engineering Building

On March 1, the University of Balamand celebrated the inauguration of its state-of-the-art Chemical Engineering building, made possible through a generous donation from Petrofac CEO Maroun Semaan.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Zakhem Auditorium, President Elie Salem said that the new building personified the University’s commitment to both teaching excellence and research, equipped, as it is, with ten high-tech laboratories that offer researchers and students industrial scale facilities and equipment unequalled in the region.

Over an area of 5,200 square meters, the Maroun Semaan Chemical Engineering building houses a Petroleum Lab, a Unit Operations Lab, a Materials and Corrosion Sciences Lab, a Nanotechnology Lab, a Process Control Lab, a Food Technology Lab, a Fluid Mechanics Lab, a Transport Phenomena Lab, a Chemical Reactions Lab, and a Computer Lab.

In remarks during the inauguration ceremony, VP and Dean of Engineering Michel Najjar thanked Mr. Semaan for helping the University meet a significant market need for well-trained chemical and petrochemical engineers.

In 2008, the University of Balamand became the first university in Lebanon to launch a major in chemical engineering, according to Dr. Henry El Zakem, Chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Currently, 200 students are enrolled in the program.

Demand for graduates of the program are expected to increase in the next few years as gas and petroleum exploitation become a greater concern in Lebanon and neighboring countries, said Dr. El Zakhem, adding that currently demand exists for skilled chemical engineers in small- to medium-sized industries. These include the food and beverages, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, plastics and construction materials industries.

In addition to a B.S. degree, and M.S. degrees in Petroleum Engineering, Food Processing and General Chemical Manufacturing, the Department of Chemical Engineering offers students exchange programs at the masters and Ph.D levels with universities in France as well as with the Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, in Canada.​​
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