Members of the 1866 Society of the American University of Beirut (AUB) were celebrated on November 24 and December 6 in annual receptions for their loyalty, generosity, and consistent donations to the university. The first reception was held for AUB faculty and staff, and the other for alumni and friends. Both events were attended by President Fadlo Khuri, Senior Vice President for Advancement and Business Development Imad Baalbaki, AUB officials, and friends of the AUB community.
Established in November 2014, the 1866 Society recognizes AUB's most loyal supporters. Named for the year of the university's founding, the society includes an exclusive group of donors, made up of faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends who have made a donation to AUB for at least seven out of the last ten years. Members receive pins to recognize their level of commitment, ranging from bronze—for seven to nine years of support—to platinum, signifying over twenty years of commitment.
Today, the 1866 Society has 911 members around the world. More than half (504) have earned gold or platinum pins, meaning that they have consistently made gifts to AUB for at least 15 consecutive years, and many for 21 years or more.
President Khuri addressed the guests at both receptions and spoke about the transformative role that AUB has played in the history of Lebanon, the Arab region, and the world, since it was founded in 1866, despite crises, wars, and trying times that have passed during the last century and a half. Addressing the donors, he said that the last three years were no exception, and “that is why today's gathering is particularly special. Each and every one of you has responded to our calls for help and support and gave, remarkably and repeatedly, even though we have all endured a lot of hardships, as individuals and families, as well as a community and an organization."
“Today, and despite everything, our commitment to this university and to our community has never been greater," Khuri added. He explained that this is evident in the record amounts of financial support that AUB is providing to its students, the many university outreach initiatives to address the urgent needs in Lebanon, the response at AUB's medical center to the multiple health crises, and the strategic expansion of the university's offerings online and through the new twin campus.
“None of this would have been possible without your generous contributions," Khuri added. “We thank you for that, and for helping us make sure that our university not only overcomes the challenges we are facing, but also emerges as an institution that is even more impactful, inclusive, relevant, and sustainable."
This year's guest speaker at the alumni and friends reception was AUB alumnus and member of the 1866 Society Adnan Dandan (BBA '79, MBA '81). He said, “I have been a humble supporter of AUB for some years. My support comes as recognition to an institution that has helped tremendously in shaping the future of generations of young people who became, in turn, productive members of so many countries, contributing to their prosperity."