The loyalty and generosity of AUB alumni and friends have remained strong throughout its history. They have also been critical to the success of the university. Donors who contribute to the university for at least seven of the last 10 years are eligible for membership of the 1866 Society, which was established in November 2014 and commemorates the year that AUB was established. Members receive pins when they achieve certain levels of commitment, ranging from bronze—for seven to nine years of support—to platinum, signifying a record of giving to AUB for at least 21 years.
Its diverse membership of faculty, staff, parents, and friends are united by their consistent support for AUB—support that, in the words of President Fadlo R. Khuri, “provides a source of funding for various initiatives at AUB and AUBMC such as medical research to improve the well-being of patients, construction of new facilities, and scholarships that assist bright students to obtain an education."
Khuri made his remarks at two 1866 Society receptions on November 27 (for faculty and staff) and December 4 (for donors) that he and Dr. Lamya Khuri hosted at the Byblos Bank Art Gallery. Khuri spoke eloquently about the significance of the year 1866 noting that it “marks the establishment of an institution that was founded on values of philanthropy and loyalty." He spoke also about AUB's never-ending growth and perseverance as “an institution that refused to slow down or fade away in the face of turbulent events nationally and regionally."
In his speech on December 4, former AUB student Ghassan Al Mahasini shared his “AUB story" that began when he joined AUB as a student in 1952. He spoke movingly about how his “dream" with AUB began much later, in 2005, when he was approached to support AUB once again – something he has done for more than 22 years. He has generously donated to numerous funds, including establishing his own scholarship in 2012. “I have always been convinced that a student's financial condition should not be a barrier in his way to succeed in his studies." Al Mahasini concluded his remarks by urging everyone to work together to keep AUB “the Mecca for all learning seekers and health seekers."