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Gift from Ali Hasbini names Doctor of Business Administration office suite

Ali and Sawsan Hasbini

Many USF business students maintain that their education equipped them with the knowledge and skills they needed to succeed. For Mohamad Ali Hasbini, that assertion continues to ring true – so much so that he returned to the USF Muma College of Business to earn a third degree more than 35 years after completing his first one.

Today he is a proud member of the inaugural class of 2017 in the Doctor of Business Administration program, which teaches seasoned executives to conduct research and apply it to bridge the gap between academia and the business world.

Hasbini explains that getting his PhD was his ultimate goal, but the opportunity that came with the new doctoral program was better than he could have imagined.

"USF basically came up with a fantastic program for executives and entrepreneurs who are still running their businesses while doing everything else," he says. "It's unique that I could combine my experience and knowledge with the academic world in that sense."

Hasbini's experience and knowledge was shaped when he came to USF in 1977 as a student from Beirut, Lebanon. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1979 and an MBA with a concentration in finance two years later. He then joined the USF faculty where he taught accounting for a few years, completed his Certified Public Accountant designation, and later moved into the private sector.

The successes Hasbini has achieved in the business world are numerous. He runs a portfolio of multiple real estate and industrial development businesses, including a home-building company, Sunrise Homes. In addition, his companies have received numerous awards from the Tampa Bay Builders Association and he was honored individually with the USF Alumni Association's Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1995.

"As an international student who was fortunate to remain in this beautiful country, the land of opportunity, I want to set the example for a lot of guys like me," he says. "It's about supporting the community, as well as the university, because this is home for us."

Hasbini wanted to recognize the business school for its role in his business success. That desire moved him to donate a naming gift for the suite of offices that houses the doctoral program of which he is a member. The offices will be known as the Mohamad Ali Hasbini Doctor of Business Administration Suite and will be located in the space that was the former home to the Management Department.

"Ali is one of the most special people I know and I can never say enough about him!" says Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem. 

"He is a smart and generous lifelong learner, but, more importantly, he is a true gentleman who is always interested in helping others – and the greater communities in which he lives. He has a genuine love of USF and appreciates how this particular university helps people from all walks of life succeed," Limayem says. "It isn't just something he says – he believes it in a personal way."

His generosity to USF extends past the Doctor of Business Administration program: He has funded scholarships for students to study abroad and helped establish the Robert M. Keith Endowed Teaching Professorship in the USF Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy, where his contribution made the endowment a reality.

Hasbini's strong desire to make a difference as a donor stems, in fact, from Dr. Keith. The former director of USF's School of Accountancy presented Hasbini with the Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1995. It was that award, Hasbini explains, that helped him recognize his position in the business world and the potential his future held.

"That started, for me, the road to giving back," he says.

Hasbini's feelings of gratitude for the overall business education he received at USF also run deep, fueling his wish to help open doors for others.

"I don't think I could have achieved what I did," he says, "without the support and ammunition the Muma College of Business gave me."

He hopes that same spirit will inspire the next generation of graduates to support USF philanthropically – carrying on the cycle of giving to the school that has given so much to his family.

Along with his wife, Sawsan, he is an investor-level member of the Executive Bulls, a giving society within the Muma College of Business. He has also served on the Advisory Council for the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy for many years and holds an emeritus position with the group.

Sawsan Hasbini earned an MBA with a finance concentration from USF in 1994, and their daughters, Leena, '09 and MA '12, and Zeina, '12, both have USF degrees. Continuing in the family tradition, Hasbini's son, Jad, will become a member of the Bulls Business Community this fall. Hasbini is thrilled by his son's decision to come to study at the Muma College of Business.

"USF offers as good of a program as anywhere else, and he will not be just a number," he says. "He's going to get an excellent education while maturing from a business standpoint at a different level."

Limayem says that is the real evidence of Hasbini's passion: "His children could have gone to almost any university. They chose USF because they have seen, first-hand, how much their father believes that USF contributed to his success."