American University of Beirut

For our students, for our patients

​Tuesday, November 30, 2021​

More than 220 vaccinated trustees, alumni, and friends gathered in New York City – and online – on November 19, 2021 “for our students, for our patients.” It was a celebration – and a fundraising event, which raised more than $3.1 million for student scholarships and patients needing assistance to pay for urgently needed medical care at the AUB Medical Center. “So many people made this event a success,” commented VP for Advancement and Business Development Imad B. Baalbaki, “but I must single out our trustees and donors who step up time and time again to support our great university.”

The evening began with a welcome by Board of Trustees Chairman Philip S. Khoury. (Those attending the virtual event enjoyed a slightly modified program that included a welcome from AVP for Advancement Patrick O’Connell; a heartfelt message from Trustee and alumna Huda Zoghbi; and prerecorded remarks by renowned cancer researcher and Nobel prize-winner, Dr. Harold Varmus, who spoke eloquently about his “reverence for AUB.” They then joined the in-person event in time to hear a stunning musical performance by oud and violin virtuoso and composer Simon Shaheen.)

In his remarks on Friday evening, AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri described AUB as a “mission-driven university” that is “still standing, still generating hope in the face of despair, and still graduating stellar human beings with real-world skills and a mind to help.” He spoke also about how AUB is becoming “more impactful, more accessible, more inclusive, and more aspirational. This transformation must take place at a time when Lebanon’s political and economic crises make that simultaneously even more urgent, albeit more difficult,” he continued, “but we cannot shy away from undertaking the tasks necessary to make the university more relevant and resilient, to ensure that we can support and guide those students and patients who seek AUB’s liberal arts-based values, its research driven teaching and care.”

During his address, Khuri lauded Varmus, who was awarded AUB’s Science and Humanism Award. “Harold represents the best kind of scientific and critical mind, one that is tuned to both dissent of the status quo, and to the genuine betterment of humankind,” he said.

Khuri expressed his deep appreciation to the donors who made especially generous contributions to support the dinner. He also reported on BOLDLY AUB: The Campaign to Lead, Innovate, and Serve, the fundraising campaign that the university launched in 2017 on the occasion of its 150th anniversary. “The goal was to raise $650 million by January 2022. We have exceeded $660 million – and counting – through around 47,500 donations. Each and every one of you in this room has played a role in BOLDLY’s success, and for that we are so grateful.”

Khuri noted that because of the unprecedented challenges that Lebanon – and AUB – face, “philanthropic support is as critical as ever. Building on the success and the momentum of the BOLDLY campaign, the AUB leadership and the board are considering extending the BOLDLY campaign to help raise much-needed support for our key priorities of student financial aid, needy patient funds, academic priorities, as well as AUB global strategy.”

Erin Ward took the stage after Khuri’s remarks to lead the live fundraising appeal rallying contributions from 84 donors in the room and online.

Another highlight of the evening was a video message from Nour Moukalled, an AUB alumna who recently returned to Lebanon to work at the medical center as a hematologist-oncologist to “give back to the institution that has always been my home.” Moukalled urged everyone to “support our institution so ‘that they may have life and have it more abundantly.’”

You can enjoy and download the photos here​.

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