Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) held on September 6, 2017, at the Bechara al-Rahi Theater, NDU main campus, a formal ceremony to welcome new NDU President Fr. Pierre Najem and the new administration members as well as to bid farewell to outgoing NDU President Fr. Walid Moussa.
Master of Ceremonies for this event, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at NDU Dr. Elie Badr, kicked off the ceremony at 7 p.m. sharp in the presence of Bishop Paul Abdel Sater, representing His Beatitude Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi; politicians; diplomats; academicians; celebrities; athletes; and University faculty and staff members, among others.
In his welcome address, Dr. Badr said, "The torch today is not only being passed from one hand to another but also everything it signifies will affect the entire NDU community positively. This torch symbolizes the dedication of NDU - a dedication firmly rooted across our three campuses that constantly strive to realize the University mission by delivering high-quality education and services while continuing along the path of growth and development.”
Dr. Bader continued, "One of the top priorities of this University is to develop its curricula for the benefit of its students by enhancing its institutional and methodological structures. NDU President Fr. Walid Moussa, in collaboration with faculty and staff members, initiated this ambitious plan driven by his zeal to fulfil the University mission and to meet its objectives by developing this great institution to serve our nation."
For his part, Superior General of the Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Head of the University Supreme Council Most Reverend Abbot Maroun Chidiac said, "NDU is a university where faith and reason merge in vigorous search for truth ... NDU is a community that functions as a growing family and urges its students to become the pioneers of truth and to search for truth despite all odds.”
As keynote speaker, Fr. Walid Moussa said, “A monk must be a model of obedience and a servant to all.”
Rose Choueiri, representing the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) Ronald Farra, thanked both Fr. Moussa and outgoing Vice-President for Finance at NDU Fr. Bechara Khoury for all their dedicated years of service. Members of the BOT presented Fr. Moussa and Fr. Khoury with commemorative gifts and then Fr. Najem was handed the symbolic key to the University. The solid sterling silver key reveals at its base the inscription of the University insignia and a stylized representation of the Virgin Mary who blesses us with her motherly love at the dawn of each new day.
This key also symbolizes the power to unlock the door, leading all those who enter along the path to self-discovery - a path that leads to the extraordinary moment where we find Gaudium de Veritate (Joy from the Truth).
Fr. Najem said, "Together we will work as one heart, one mind, and one spirit, and together will deliver one message and achieve one goal while upholding the values of this University."
Fr. Najem spoke to representatives of the private sector (bankers, industrialists, and service providers) and to individuals of goodwill, saying, "You have placed in our hands the concerns of our students, especially those with limited financial means. Our potential may be limited but our dreams are great, and our love even greater. "
Finally, Fr. Najem thanked Abbot Boutros Tarabay, Fr. Moussa, and Fr. Khoury for all their support during his six years at NDU where he initially headed the Center for Digitization and Preservation (CDP) and later served as vice-president for administration.
The event also included inspiring performances by the NDU Choir under the baton of Fr. Khalil Rahme, and the screening of a short documentary, highlighting the major achievements of Fr. Moussa during his 12-year tenure.