Excellence in giving education
LAU raises more than $1 million for scholarships and a $1.5 million for renovation and naming of the Irwin Hall Auditorium.
Together, LAU supporters raised more than $1 million dollars from donations, sponsorships and in proceeds from gala ticket sales. All the money raised will go to the “Gala Dinner Endowed Scholarship Fund” to support needy and deserving students. In addition, a pledge by $1.5 million was announced from LAU benefactor, Wadih Absi, to renovate the Irwin Hall Auditorium and name it after his family. The renovation is expected to start in February 2015.
“The best gift in life is the gift of giving,” reverberated the energetic voice of LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra over a sea of sparkling tables and elegant attire. Gathered together for LAU’s third annual fundraising Gala Dinner, 750 distinguished guests had settled in for an evening of enjoyment, exchange and giving at the build-up to the holiday season.
With a renewed focus on increasing financial aid and scholarship programs for needy and deserving students, ‘Donate to Educate’ was the theme for this year’s occasion. As Dr. Paul Boulos, chairman of Board of Trustees, stressed: “LAU’s goal has always been to provide an education that is second to none based on talent and determination, not financial circumstances.” Jabbra also asserted his commitment to ensuring that “ability, and not the ability to pay, remains the sole criterion for admission to LAU,” before handing the evening over to LAU students.
“Education should be the birthright,” emphasized Jabbra, “but financial realities make it hard for many families to send their children to university.” Being aware of this unfortunate situation and guided by its caring mission, he explained that LAU had significantly increased its financial aid and scholarship program.
In this regard, the generous figure of $20 million has been budgeted for scholarships in 2014-2015 and the bar continues to be raised in order to expand the scope of aid for students.
As the beneficiaries of LAU’s fundraising target, students were in the evening’s spotlight, starting with two current scholarship recipients. Students Ralph Tayeh and Rand Hammoud took the stage and reached out to the audience with their personal journeys to LAU facilitated by donor generosity.
Tayeh, who went to public school, stressed: “Without LAU looking into hidden talents who couldn’t afford tuition fees, I wouldn’t have gotten an university education.”
And just three months into her first year at university, it was Hammoud’s turn to encourage others. “Tonight I’m the ambassador of the hungry, hungry for education, hungry for knowledge, hungry for a change,” proclaimed Rand, a first year Political Science and International Affairs student, to the crowd.
“Our gala event did not belong to LAU alone, it belonged to a great country, Lebanon,” emphasized Boulos, praising the evening’s success.
Over 750 guests gathered in the magnificent BIEL setting.
The music band 8eme Art serenaded the crowd.
LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra addressing the audience.
Auctioneer Marianna Wehbe encourages the audience to bid and donate for student scholarships.
Students gave the audience a taste of their skills as they performed a moving rendition of We Are The World.