Dear Alumni and Friends:
You are holding in your hands the first issue of AUB’s new quarterly, The Main Gate. The publication of this worldwide magazine is just one of a number of initiatives at AUB—several of which are featured in this issue.
The AUB Board of Trustees has recently adopted a 20-year campus Master Plan—an integrated approach to the rehabilitation and development of our campus. Many members of the AUB community have been involved in the 18-month process that has brought us in agreement on how to create the best campus to fit AUB’s academic mission. In this issue are a number of images of our vision of the AUB campus of the future. We hope you will be able to see that, although there will be changes (including the Charles W. Hostler Student Center and a new School of Business), the campus that many of you remember so fondly will be meticulously preserved— and enhanced.
Not coincidentally, the publication of this magazine marks the official launch of a $140 million fundraising campaign—to culminate on the 140th anniversary of the University in FY2006-07. Although one of the goals of the Campaign for Excellence is to help finance the initial phase of the campus Master Plan, we are also seeking to build our endowment and levels of annual support so that we can increase the resources available for financial aid and make a major investment in AUB’s faculty and academic programs. We believe that any qualified student who is accepted to AUB should be able to attend, and we want to provide them with the financial support
to do so. We are also committed to making available the broad choices offered by a first-rate liberal arts undergraduate education. To deliver on this, we need to attract and keep good faculty members who are committed to teaching and have strong research agendas. A successful fundraising campaign will allow AUB to continue to play its unique role in Lebanon and the region.
You will find several articles related to AUB’s Campaign for Excellence in these pages including an interview with the campaign chair, Kamal Shair.
We are also profiling two members of our faculty: Professor Tarif Khalidi, who joined AUB this fall as the new Sheikh Zayed Professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies, and Dr. Ali Bazarbachi who recently received the Hafez Kobesi Award for his research on leukemia.
Although AUB has much to celebrate, I also want to take this opportunity to note the recent passing of Suliman Saleh Olayan, a member of the AUB Board of Trustees for almost ten years (1975 to 1984) and a recipient of the University’s Medal of Honor. AUB has enjoyed a long and wonderful relationship with Mr. Olayan and his family. We will miss him dearly.
We hope that this issue gives you a taste of the wide array of activities that is taking place at AUB these days and we welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions. In these times when much of the news from, and about, the Middle East is all too often discouraging, we feel that it is a particularly auspicious time for a commitment to AUB—a university that emphasizes learning that enables students to think for themselves, that exposes them to choice in the educational paths they will follow, that promotes critical thinking, and that nurtures personal integrity, honesty, and tolerance.
John Waterbury, PhD