Gifts in Action: Abu Dhabi and Riyadh Chapters


It is often said that it is not the building that makes the school, but the students. In the case of LAUs recent fundraising drive, it seems that there’s room for both.

Following a tradition long practiced at American universities, LAU alumni chapters are now naming parts of the university after their cities. This initiative will help the university maintain and update its facilities, while giving former students the chance to keep a lasting connection with their alma mater.

The practice of naming university entities after donors is a relatively new concept in the Middle East, but for some LAU chapters, naming entities seems to naturally follow their tradition of fundraising.

On July 10, with a donation of $75,000, LAUs Riyadh Chapter became the first group to have a room named in its honor: room 1309 on the 13th floor of the Business Building on the Beirut campus.

Marwan Daoud has been president of the Riyadh Chapter since 2007, and was previously head of the Mount Lebanon Alumni Chapter before moving to Saudi Arabia in 2001. At the dedication ceremony, attended by LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra and a group of officials and friends, Daoud said, “All chapters should work for the benefit of LAU. I feel proud that we are graduates of this university. We belong to this community.”

“You can see how excited they are about leaving a print. There’s something for them to remember their hard work,” said Abdallah Al-Khal, director of alumni relations. ” And it also shows the external community that they believe in their institution.”

On July 28, the Abu Dhabi Chapter generously donated $250,000, giving the computer center in room 1310 a new name.

“All our contributors are working for this noble cause,” said Faysal Saab, president of LAUs Abu Dhabi Chapter, at the dedication ceremony, which was also attended by President Jabbra and other friends and LAU executives. “We’re always looking forward to the years to come. Our (fundraising) target is always higher than the year before. Our main concern is to raise as much money as possible for needy students.”

Lana Abou Teen, assistant director of development, said she believes that naming rooms after alumni chapters shows students what alumni can do for their alma mater: “Students pass by these rooms on a daily basis. It’s good exposure.”

So far, the university has already surpassed the halfway mark of its fundraising goal of $65 million — a sign of both the generosity of LAUs alumni as well as their desire to keep a connection to their alma mater. With some 30 LAU alumni chapters throughout the world, there’s the potential to name many more rooms in their honor.

For further information on how to support LAU, please email the Development Office at the following address: development@lau.edu.lb


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