Athletes’ Night 2013, a festive ceremony that is annually organized by University Sports and the Office of Student Affairs at the American University of Beirut, unveiled the University’s top athletes and introduced a new award: the Farid Chaker Saab Endowed Student Athlete Award, which supports a student-athlete who embodies sportsmanship, leadership, and academic excellence.
Established in honor of the late Farid Chaker Saab, a renowned businessman and alumnus who excelled at sports while at AUB, the endowed award will annually support a full-time AUB student with an average of at least 77/100 and who has been a varsity athlete for at least a year. The student-athlete should belong to one of the top two ranked university teams in the national league and/or should have received a regional or international medal.
Basketball player Mira Alameddine, a freshman with an average of 83/100 who will major in media studies, was the recipient of the 2013 award, which was presented to her by Saab’s wife, Wafa Farid Saab, who chose with her children, Chaker, Nayla, and Dana, to establish this award to celebrate her late husband’s academic, athletic, and professional successes.
The late Saab was known for his huge collection of gold medals and trophies which he had won in a variety of sports, from track and field, to cycling, boxing, swimming, and skiing.
“Throughout his high school and university years, Farid excelled at sports, and this, in turn, led to his good academic record,” recalled Wafa Saab. “He was [also] an exceptional businessman and credited sports for giving him his leadership and entrepreneurial abilities and … an unwavering value system that included respecting others, practicing fair-play, being resilient in the face of adversity and always, always, persevering to the very end, no matter what the outcome.”
Saab added: “Our aim, through this award, in honor of my late husband, is to endorse his firm belief in the value of sports and how it can positively influence a person’s life, both physically and mentally…Our goal is to shape students into champions, not just in the athletic field, but also in life.”
Student Affairs Dean Talal Nizameddin thanked the Saab family for its support and presented Wafa Saab with a token of appreciation.
During the ceremony, which was held at the Charles Hostler Student Center Auditorium, AUB’s Most Valuable Player of the Year and the Athlete of the Year were also announced.
Ghaleb Halimi, director of University Sports and organizer of the event congratulated the AUB teams for their excellent results in the University Championship Leagues, in which they ranked first in a number of sports.
The enthusiastic crowd welcomed the announcement of The Most Valuable Player awards, which went to 23 students who received trophies for their sports achievements.
Halimi explained that the Most Valuable Player recognizes “the best of the best” from each sport for both men and women, and the Athlete of the Year Award celebrates one athlete who represents a good model of sportsmanship, excellence in sports and leadership skills. These awards were created 12 years ago.
The Sportsmanship Award went to cheerleader team leader Olivia Ghantous, who had earlier given a motivational speech in which she highlighted the strong bonds that tie fellow athletes and teammates together. “You are all a part of something much greater than tallies on a scoreboard or a number on a jersey,” she told her fellow athletes. “You have the power to unify your team. And you have the power to unify your community. This is the power that you have…”
The Athlete of the Year award went to Theresa Fiani from the Volleyball Women’s team.
Theresa was selected for her award because she was the most active athlete in all sports, and helped her team rank first in the USC league, and in many national and international tournaments.