Why I Give: Kanan Hamzeh

As vice chair of the Board of International Advisors, Kanan Hamzeh’s leadership has been immeasurable to the university. “I knew that when Dr. Joseph Jabbra became President of LAU, he would transform it to a world class university,” he said. “Providing superior higher education to the students of Lebanon in this competitive world is of immense importance. To help Dr. Jabbra provide that education, I joined the BIA.

Born and raised in Tripoli, Hamzeh left Lebanon to pursue his education at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona where he graduated with a degree in Electronics Engineering in 1968. He then worked in the fields of electrical engineering, manufacturing and contracting in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia but ultimately relocated to California with his family in 1981. Soon after, Hamzeh founded the Tri Pole Corporation, a computer sales, development and maintenance company that he later sold to Novell. Hamzeh and his wife, Hanan, have three grown children, Rabih, Rida and Zeina. Hamzeh is currently semi-retired but invests in start-up computer companies. His diligence and success in his professional career have been matched by his dedication to service, particularly with regard to his homeland.

Hamzeh is one of the founders of the Lebanese American Foundation, a non-profit organization created by Lebanese Americans to draw together members of this community, to “gather under one roof, disregarding those things that divide us,” he said. He also had a leading role in founding the Los Angeles-Beirut Sister City relationship, which facilitates the creation of educational and business opportunities in Beirut.

As a member of LAUs Board of International Advisors, he strives to raise money to educate increasing numbers of students in Lebanon. Hamzeh has also personally supported this cause by establishing a scholarship fund, saying his motivation for contributing is the “desire to give back to one’s country. The most efficient and direct way [to give back] is to give financial support for the LAU Campaign for Excellence. It gives a life line to our students in Lebanon,” and Hamzeh is making a palpable difference in young people’s lives in the country and region.

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