Dr. Samir Saliba, who has served Emory & Henry for 51 years and whose leadership at the College helped shape its mission and many of its most important programs, provided a retrospective on the institution during his time at the institution at an event held on April 22.
It was part of a tribute organized by the College to honor Saliba, who has served the longest number of consecutive years of any faculty member in the College’s history. The event included special presentations on behalf of the Virginia General Assembly and Board of Trustees and a tribute video featuring former colleagues and students. Following Saliba's lecture, a plaque and portrait were unveiled just off the Wiley lobby. The celebration also included a champagne toast by longtime Saliba colleague Dr. James Dawsey.
A History of Increasing in Excellence
Saliba joined the E&H Political Science Department in 1964 after studying for his Ph.D. in political science from Tulane University, which he received in 1966. He attended Tulane as an undergraduate with the goal of receiving a degree in public health, but professors there quickly keyed in on his passion for global politics.
By 1971, Saliba had become chair of the Division of Social Sciences. A year later he was appointed dean of the college and shortly thereafter began his stint as interim president. He has accumulated numerous honors, most notable the 1997 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia and the 2001 Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, a national recognition from the United Methodist Foundation.
In 1991, he was designated the Hawthorne Professor of Political Science, and in 1995, he was named the Meyung Professor of International Studies. In 2010, Peter Walters, a member of the E&H Class of 1970, established in honor of his former professor the Samir N. Saliba Endowment for International Studies.
A prolific scholar, Saliba has co-authored with Harold J. Berman, one of the leading pre-law textbooks, “The Nature and Functions of Law,” which is now in its seventh edition. His scholarship has focused largely on Middle Eastern studies, although much of his research also has been devoted to such topics as Sino-Soviet relations, European affairs, and third world politics.