Spring 2008 Vol. VI, No. 3
Reminiscences of the Campus
As a junior at AUB, I lived with three other students in
a room directly under the clock tower in College Hall. At midnight the
room shook and shuddered when the clock chimed twelve times.
On a recent walk on AUBís campus, I could not help but remember vividly
the days I spent there (and in that clock tower) from 1943 to 1950 when
I graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, which, in my days, was known
as the School of Medicine.
The magnificent buildings of the campus are just as impressive as before.
Except for College Hall, the exteriors have not changed much. Inside,
things are different. In my days, College Hall had classrooms on the ground
floor, the second floor was occupied entirely by the University Library,
and there were student dormitories on the top floor, where I lived. You
could enter directly into Ada Dodge Hall coming down from the steps of
the Main Gate. There was a long corridor on the left side with the restaurant
where students had their meals. The administrative offices, including
the Registrarís Office and the office of the AUB president, were located
on the right side of the corridor. Today the entire ground floor is occupied
by a spacious restaurant for students and faculty.
I remember with nostalgia the shaded pathways where we used to loiter,
and the benches where we used to sit, admiring the blue Mediterranean
on one side and the snow-capped peaks of Sannine on the other. The Green
Oval in front of Fisk and Jesup Halls, and the fountain next to College
Hall, are relatively new features that make the campus even more attractive
than it was in my days.
Although I was impressed with the physical changes of the campus I was
struck even more by the changes in the student body. Recently, most of
the students on campus seem to come from different parts of Lebanon. In
my days, the campus was an international arena where students from the
east and from the west coexisted in harmony. There were students from
Iran, Afghanistan, and India. There were also students from Morocco, Algeria,
Tunisia, and Egypt with whom we had to speak in English because we could
not understand each otherís dialect in Arabic. World War II was raging
in Europe, and we had an influx of European Jews who came from Germany
and Eastern Europe. We also had a number of pretty young Polish ladies
who were staunch Catholics.
In first year medicine almost onethird of our class were European Jews.
We also had four Polish ladies, and a Sikh gentleman from India in the
class. When we were in third year medicine all the European Jews left
when war broke out in Palestine in 1948. Two of the Polish ladies also
left for different reasons, but the remaining two Polish ladies received
their medical degrees with me in 1950.
With all these departures we ended up as one of the smallest classes to
graduate from the School of Medicine. But even then our fifth year class
in medicine was an international mix. The class had four students from
Lebanon, five came from different towns in Syria, three from Palestine,
two from Iraq, one from Jordan, an American from New York, and one from