Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary
  The Italian Attack on Beirut. Part 4/4
Najla Zurayk ’37, A Woman for All Ages
In War and Peace
From the President
Summer, Interrupted
Focusing on Recovery
Creating “Laughter Under the Bombs”
46 Years of Education Through War & Peace
Meeting the Challenge
Perspectives on the war
 
 
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Fall 2006 Vol. V, No. 1

Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

In War and Peace

Courage, growth, and social service played an integral part in the AUB education that President Bayard Dodge expected to guide the University’s graduates to their roles as leaders and innovative thinkers. At an alumni reunion in the late 1920’s one alumnus remarked: “President Dodge taught us this: Trust in God, and do what’s right.” This was his credo. He was steadfast during the difficult times of World War II; he and Mrs. Dodge always set a good example of being benevolent and helpful. Excerpts from speeches and writings during his tenure as president (1923-1948) follow:

In his baccalaureate sermon of 1934, President Bayard Dodge asked:

“What Causes World Progress?
Let me ask you a question. If the world is going to continue to progress in the future, what will be the cause? What has caused progress in the past? Let us see.

What made Athens the center of a moral and philosophical movement, which was largely responsible for the civilization of the Graeco-Roman world? An ugly little man, with an inspired idealism, a passion to serve humanity, and an indomitable courage. I refer to Socrates.

What unified the Arab world and freed it from idolatry?
A camel driver summoned to be a prophet.

What influence introduced printing? A German refugee, who invented the printing press, in order that he might sell a Latin bible and pay off his debts by publishing Pope Nicholas V’s letter of indulgence to the Muslims.

What gave the world the godsend of modern nursing? Florence Nightingale.

What freed the world from slavery? The efforts of William Wilberforce, a wealthy London politician, and Abraham Lincoln, reared in a log cabin of the American wilderness.

What gave the world a knowledge of bacteria? Louis Pasteur, the son of [a] poor French leather tanner.
In all history progress has come because of some individual man or woman. Often it has been a person of humble origin and limited education. But it has always been a person who has had courage and idealism.

Ideals Must Have Exponents or Interpreters
God’s law for the world is one of growth and improvement. But social evolution and the progress of mankind as a whole can only take place as individual men and women cause it to take place. We can only cause the world to go forward, as we ourselves have ideals that stimulate us to keep on growing in a spiritual way.”

For Dodge, the best sign that he and AUB were succeeding was the fact that so many students chose to engage in voluntary social service activities. He wrote:

“The finest influences of American life are being exemplified during vacations, by means of social service work. Members of the missionary organizations are encouraging young men and women to teach Sunday schools and vacation Bible schools. Conferences are held, which bring the men and women teachers together to fit themselves for their work. It means a great deal for the educated men and women to share serious ideals with the poor children of the towns and villages. It awakens the peasant children and enables them to understand that there is something deeper in modern culture than extravagant amusement and intellectual cynicism.”

President Daniel Bliss

“Naturally, the number of teachers and students was affected by the (Ottoman) War, though far less than might have been expected. In spite of immense official opposition, military service, financial stress and other complications too numerous to particularize, the College was kept going during the whole tense period, save for two weeks, when active work was stopped by the local Governor, at the breaking off of diplomatic relations between the United States and Turkey…This temporary suspension was remembered only as a nightmare, though as a nightmare that might be recurrent. Fortunately, the dread remained only a dread.”

President Bayard Dodge
“A University is an anvil upon which ideas are forged, and it is these ideas which

influence civilization more than money or guns. The teaching of Aristotle in the Lyceum did more to change history than the armies of his pupil Alexander. The Golden Rule is more far reaching than the atom bomb.”

President Malcolm Kerr’s investiture ceremony speech, 1982
“…I believe that there are two essential principles we must follow: First, we must build and not tear down. We must grow and not shrink…AUB has had a glorious past, and there is no reason why it cannot have a glorious future, if only we be sufficiently determined to make it so…Let us pledge ourselves today to make that effort, so that a century from now our descendents will remember that the men and women of AUB in the 1970s and ’80s not only showed the courage to survive eight years of destruction and turmoil in the country, but the imagination and initiative to bring their university out of the bomb shelter, into the sunlight, and up to the mountaintops of excellence once again.”

President Stephen B.L. Penrose, Jr.

Military developments are likely to determine the immediate future of the institution. Its history shows that it is not unaccustomed to hardships and obstacles of a seemingly overwhelming nature. There is ground for full confidence that it will continue to function successfully and with expanding usefulness long after the clouds of war have disappeared. From them, as from the previous storm, may result a richer opportunity for service to the Near East.

Edward W. Said, AUB Commencement Speech, June 2000
“…Think of yourselves as the proud inheritors of several traditions, rather than only of one—Arab, Islamic, Christian, Roman, Greek, Phoenician, Canaanite, Jewish, Armenian, Kurdish, and, yes, even African, Indian, and, of course American and European. You would be doing yourselves the gravest injustice, in fact you would be mutilating your own lives, if you were to think of yourselves as mainly Christian, or Muslim or Druze or sectarian in some provincial small-minded chauvinist way... A sense of citizenship and of critical awareness will allow you to see the whole of human history as common enterprise, and not as a kind of Darwinian race for domination and supremacy. Cultures are… in a state of continuing development and dynamic change… As citizens your obligation towards your community is also a commitment to the existence of other communities, and that is what the poet William Butler Yeats called the dialogue of self and soul in the dialogue taking place inside us as vigilant seekers after truth and justice, without which there can be no real education, no dialogue of cultures, no real understanding.”
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