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Summer 2009 Vol. VII, No. 4

From the President

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Even those among us who embrace change and champion innovation are powerfully drawn to traditions. There is clearly something reassuring in gathering at the same place every year with people we know, enjoying a favorite meal that has been prepared “the way Sitti used to,” and listening to the stories we have heard many times before. This may be why we observe the traditions that have been passed down to us—and why we introduce new ones as well.

This is certainly what is taking place at AUB. In addition to events such as Founders Day, Christmas concerts in Assembly Hall, Folk Dance Festivals on the Green Field, Outdoors, the “Big Game,” Commencement, and honorary degree ceremonies, many of us also observe some new traditions such as Fingerprints, the student fundraising program that has raised $800,000 for financial aid since 2002. Another relatively new tradition, which has been warmly embraced by our alumni, is the annual Class Reunion that takes place every year around the time of Commencement. In July 2009, we welcomed alumni from the graduating classes of 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, and 2004—and their families—to campus.

In May 2009, AUB celebrated another tradition on campus: a presidential inauguration—something it had not done since December 1982, when Malcolm Kerr was inaugurated as AUB’s ninth president. Many distinguished guests from Lebanon and around the world, including regional leaders and prominent figures in higher education in the United States and the Middle East, participated in this truly memorable occasion. It was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to reflect on AUB’s achievements and to set a course for the future. It is a course that I look forward to traveling with all of you for many years to come.

I invite you to explore this issue of MainGate, where you will find some stories and images that I think will remind many of you of some of your favorite AUB traditions. I hope they will also make you feel a part of the traditions that we celebrated on campus in recent months.

Peter F. Dorman
President, American University of Beirut