American University of Beirut

 Launching the 1866 Society

​​November 2014 marked the launch of AUB’s 1866 Society, a new leadership circle celebrating our most loyal supporters. Named for the year of AUB’s founding, the Society recognizes an exclusive group of generous donors, made up of faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends, who have made a gift of any amount for at least seven out of the last ten years.

President Peter Dorman hosted two receptions at Marquand House to honor 1866 Society members, on November 28 for alumni and friends and on December 1 for faculty and staff. Guests received pins to recognize their level of commitment, ranging from bronze—for seven to nine years of support—to platinum, signifying over twenty years of consistent giving.

In his remarks, President Dorman traced the importance of philanthropy to the very founding of the University. “Starting in 1862, the Reverend Daniel Bliss spent four years traveling throughout the U.S. and England sharing his vision for this new institution of higher education in Beirut,” he said. “By 1866, enough funds had been gathered from generous supporters to begin operation of the university and to start an endowment. Since that time, donations from individuals, businesses, and governments have helped AUB grow into one of the most successful and respected universities in the Middle East.”

Consistent giving is central to AUB’s mission. The University can plan for the future and rely on funds being available for such crucial areas as financial aid, campus enhancement, and research. The members of the 1866 Society contribute to AUB’s stability and longevity. They embody the loyalty that AUB inspires, and our importance in the region. They believe in what AUB does, and the values we promote.

Speaking at the reception, platinum donor Mazen Dajani ‘58 commented on why he has supported AUB so consistently and why he will continue to do so. As a student, Mr. Dajani received critical financial aid, without which he would not have completed his undergraduate Business degree. His two brothers in the Faculty of Engineering also received financial assistance.

“Although these are all factors that weigh on me, above all I enjoy supporting AUB as I believe in its values and in its mission,” he said.

“Especially in these days when fanaticism, intolerance, and ignorance are rampant, the challenges facing the region are numerous, and very serious indeed; threatening our very existence and our way of life. …As such, AUB, which has always played a pivotal role in the region, needs to be empowered, now more than ever, to remain a beacon of progress, of culture, and very much as an oasis of sanity effectively having a civilizing impact on the region.”

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