American University of Beirut appoints Dorman presidentBy Josh Schonwald
The American University of Beirut has named Peter Dorman, Professor of Egyptology in the Oriental Institute and Chair of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, to be the 15th president in its more than 150-year history.
After a yearlong international search, which solicited the input of consultants, faculty, staff, students and alumni worldwide, Dorman was selected Friday, March 21 to succeed John Waterbury.
Founded in 1866, AUB, which bases its educational philosophy, standards and practices on the American liberal-arts model of higher education, has a faculty of 640 full-time equivalents and a student body of more than 7,200.
Dorman, a renowned scholar in the study of the ancient Near East, particularly the field of Egyptology, has deep ties to the American University of Beirut. He grew up in Beirut and is the great-great grandson of Daniel Bliss, the founder of AUB.
“Having spent my childhood and much of my career in the Middle East, I have a strong appreciation of the tremendous impact AUB and its graduates have in the region,” said Dorman, following the announcement. “It is an honor and privilege to lead the university. We cannot underestimate the positive influence that AUB, with its outstanding Medical Center, forward-thinking research, community outreach and liberal arts education has on the local community and the region as a whole,” added Dorman.
“Peter Dorman has been a colleague and friend for more than 20 years, and I have always valued and admired his scholarship and teaching,” said Martha Roth, Dean of the Division of the Humanities. “Now as Dean, I am grateful as well for his chairmanship of the NELC. His calm direction and steady hand have served the department and the Humanities Division well. He will bring all these qualities of scholarly integrity and leadership to AUB. I will miss Peter and wish him many further successes.”
In announcing his appointment, Thomas Morris, chairman of the AUB Board of Trustees, said, “AUB is in the midst of an exciting period of change and transition, and we look forward to working with Peter to capitalize on the energy and amazing growth that has been building at the University in recent years. Peter has a strong commitment to strengthening AUB’s research environment and understands the University’s success depends not only on the growth and success of its new Ph.D. programs, but also on the continuous improvement of its core undergraduate programs.”
Since 2002, Dorman has chaired Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations. Prior to that, he spent nine years (1988-1997) heading the Epigraphic Survey at Chicago House in Luxor, working at both Luxor Temple and the Eighteenth-Dynasty temple of Amun at Medinet Habu. From 1977 to 1988, he worked in curatorial positions in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where he assisted with the Tutankhamun exhibition and the reinstallation of the museum’s Egyptian galleries.
Dorman, who received his Ph.D. from University in 1985, is the author and editor of several major books and many articles on the study of ancient Egypt. He is probably best known for his historical work on the reign of Hatshepsut and the Amarna period.
His most recent monograph, Faces in Clay: Technique, Imagery, and Allusion in a Corpus of Ceramic Sculpture from Ancient Egypt (2002), examines artisanal craftsmanship in light of material culture, iconography and religious texts. In 2007, he and Betsy Bryan of The Johns Hopkins University co-edited a volume titled Sacred Space and Sacred Function in Ancient Thebes.