Dodge was born to a wealthy family in New York City in 1883. He was
sent to a private school for his elementary education; then he enrolled in
Princeton University, where he received a BA in 1909. He continued his
studies at Columbia University where he earned an MA in 1913; he then
entered Union Theological Seminary where he received a Doctor of Divinity
degree but he was never ordained.
He came to Beirut in 1913 to
assume the responsibilities of director of West Hall, at that time under
construction with funds supplied in part by his father. West Hall was
completed in 1914, the same year Dodge married Mary Bliss, daughter of
Howard Bliss, whom he had previously met at a gathering in connection with
the College. In 1920 the Syrian Protestant College became the American
University of Beirut that we know today.
The inauguration of Dodge as
third president was held on June 28, 1923, after Commencement exercises.
In 1948 Dodge retired, having served AUB for twenty-five years. And served
he did; he chose to receive no salary and whatever monies he donated to
the University were always registered anonymously.
was a modest, unpretentious man; who focused on the good qualities in
people. One of the prominent graduates of the late 1920's, at an Alumni
reunion, had this to say about him: "President Dodge taught us this: Trust
in God, and do what's right". This was Dodge's credo. He was steadfast
during the difficult times of World War II; he and Mrs. Dodge always set a
good example of being benevolent and helpful. In recognition of his work,
both in peace and in war, Occidental University awarded him the Doctor of
Laws (LL.D) degree. Lebanon and other countries decorated him with medals
of distinction for his dedication to his work.