In an 8,000-student university, one is bound to find some remarkable individuals lurking the corners of Bliss, Jafet, or, in my case, in Nicely 325.
It was last semester when I met Ziad Yamut, a seemingly ordinary Public Administration senior. It was not until later that I found out that there was more to him than meets the eye.
Ziad Yamut was a Geology major at AUB back in the 80s, but had to leave school so that he could help support his family, who had suffered the effects of the civil war plaguing Lebanon.
What makes Ziad’s story beautiful is that he chose to work in AUB’s Architecture & Engineering Library, and continues to do so until today. After all this time, his heart stayed with AUB.
Even when he was admitted to the hospital twice due to serious medical issues, he did not give up on his dream of continuing his education and acquiring his degree. “Education knows no age. I believe that even if we get degrees, we still find ourselves in need of more, since education is an endless sea that makes the person reach the impossible,” he said, when asked why continuing his education was so important to him, regardless of his age.
A few semesters back, Ziad reactivated his academic file and sat for all the trials and tests before being re-admitted to AUB as a part-time student, learning and working simultaneously.
When asked how hard it was to return to school and study Public Administration (which, he discovered, was his true passion) he confessed that it was quite difficult. “When I reactivated my academic file and passed the trial period and the prerequisites, I found some difficulty due to my age and forgetting basic knowledge of some courses,” he admitted. “But my advisor Dr. Randa Antoun—may she rest in peace—had reinforced [my will] to continue till the end, a valued thing I will never forget. Also, all my instructors and Professors initiated in me the spirit of determination to surpass all odds and I do thank them from the bottom of my heart for that!”
Ziad is just one example of the inspiring people, not only in AUB, but also in the world who, through acts of passion and persistence, become a beacon of light for us all. The last thing Ziad added was a message to every AUBite. “Never give up. The winds of war threw me off course, but here I am, turning 49 and still in school, working toward my dream.”
That is the true spirit of an AUBite: determination, diligence, and persistence. Come the end of this Spring semester, Ziad joins the graduating class of 2013-2014 with a BA in Public Administration.