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For immediate release
July 10, 2009
Contact: Katherine P Martha
Georgetown Receives $20 Million Gift to Benefit New Business School Building, Will Name Facility in Honor of Late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik B. Hariri

WASHINGTON – Georgetown University announced today that it received a $20 million gift to name the new building for its McDonough School of Business in memory of the late Rafik B. Hariri --  a two-time prime minister of Lebanon, renowned philanthropist and dedicated supporter of education.

The gift was made by Hariri’s son, Saad Hariri, the newly designated prime minister of Lebanon and a 1992 alumnus of the McDonough School of Business. It will help cover the final costs of constructing the new building, which will begin holding classes for all business school students in September. In addition to supporting the Rafik B. Hariri Building, the funds also will create two endowed scholarships, one each for an undergraduate and a graduate student.

“This gift will make a tremendous difference in our ongoing efforts to enhance Georgetown’s global business education programs,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “I am deeply grateful to the Hariri family for their generosity in supporting two of our most important priorities -- building and maintaining first-class facilities and providing financial aid for students to study at Georgetown.” 

Rafik Hariri was a dominant political and entrepreneurial figure for decades in Lebanon before his assassination on Feb. 14, 2005. A staunch U.S. ally and a visionary who sought to bring peace and democracy to Lebanon, Hariri was prime minister from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2004. One of his primary achievements was ensuring that Beirut, the capital, was rebuilt and restored to its former vibrancy following the country’s devastating 15-year civil war.

A self-made billionaire who made his fortune in the construction industry, Rafik Hariri also was a dedicated philanthropist. In 1979, he founded the nonprofit Hariri Foundation, which has helped tens of thousands of Lebanese students attend institutions of higher learning at home and abroad and provided health, social and cultural services to Lebanon’s neediest. The Hariri Foundation-USA, located in Bethesda, Md., has helped thousands of Lebanese scholars advance their studies at more than 300 colleges and universities in North America.

Rafic Bizri, president of the Hariri Foundation-USA, said "the gift that Saad Hariri has made to Georgetown University truly honors Rafik Hariri's extraordinary devotion to the great cause of education. It expresses the son's profound regard for his father and pays tribute to the ultimate sacrifice, which Rafik Hariri made for his country."

As a Georgetown parent, Rafik Hariri was a generous supporter to the university and served on the business school’s Parents Council. Georgetown awarded him an honorary degree in 1996, hailing the prime minister as “a champion of education and opportunity for the underprivileged.”

Saad Hariri, the second son of Rafik Hariri and Nidal Al-Bustani, has followed in his father’s footsteps as both an entrepreneur and statesman. Before becoming Lebanon’s prime minister designate, he served as majority leader of the Lebanese Parliament and as general manager of Saudi Oger Ltd., his family’s multibillion-dollar construction company.

In reflecting on his father’s singular contributions to the welfare of Lebanon, Saad Hariri said, “among the many attributes for which my father, Rafik Hariri, is remembered, his commitment to education and the pursuit of excellence was dearest to his heart. Inspired by this commitment, he made it possible for tens of thousands of Lebanese students to pursue their education at home and abroad. Today, these Hariri alumni are the true wealth of Lebanon, the best part of his legacy to his beloved homeland. I am proud to be part of such a legacy and to dedicate this gift to Georgetown University to the memory of Rafik Hariri.”
“Saad Hariri’s generosity to Georgetown will establish a lasting tribute to his father and result in a world-class facility for our business students and faculty,” said George Daly, dean of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. “We are excited about the opportunities this new state-of-the-art building will provide to our community members as they engage in the many facets of a business education.”

The Hariri family’s connections to Georgetown run deep: Saad Hariri’s brother Ayman Hariri is a 1998 graduate of Georgetown College and another brother, Addy Al-Shaikh, attended Georgetown Law Center.

The new Rafik B. Hariri Building is a 179,000-square-foot facility in the center of Georgetown’s campus that will enable the McDonough School of Business to solidify its position as one of the world’s leading business schools. This new home for the business school features seminar, lecture and conference rooms; a 400-seat auditorium; eight case rooms; and common areas for both undergraduate and graduate students.

About Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business

Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business is a premier business school in the nation's capital. Founded in 1957 to educate undergraduate business students through the integration of liberal arts and professional education, the McDonough School annually welcomes some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 500 participants in its executive education programs. For more information about Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, visit

About Georgetown University

Georgetown University is the oldest and largest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in Washington, DC, Doha, Qatar and around the world. For more information about Georgetown University, visit

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