Lebanese American University


LAU gala dinner gathers the great and the good

LAU’s first-ever gala dinner in Lebanon raises $7.5 million for students’ financial aid and scholarships.

Editor’s update: LAU won a Highly Commended award at the Heist Awards 2013 for its first fundraising gala dinner in Lebanon.

LAU held its first ever gala dinner in Lebanon on March 23 at Biel. The event was held in honor of major university supporters, whose contributions have helped LAU make higher education accessible to needy and deserving students.
The event drew more than 850 friends of the university. Attendees included prominent political, economic, academic, and cultural figures, as well as members of LAU’s Board of Trustees and Board of International Advisors.

“I am honored by your presence here tonight and by your steadfast support for the university at a critical phase in its renaissance,” said Joseph G. Jabbra, president of LAU.

Jabbra stressed the university’s growth in recent years, both in terms of inaugurating new schools and major research facilities as well as successfully pursuing accreditations.

“This event is significant insofar as it reflects your generosity and your commitment to the vision of the university,” he added.
If the $7.5 million raised was anything to go by, that commitment indeed ran deep.

All proceeds from the event will go toward the university’s Endowment Scholarship Fund, which targets academically accomplished but socio-economically disadvantaged students.


Guests are welcomed by members of LAU’s Board of Trustees and Board of International Advisors.


Guests stand as tenor Gabriel Abdel Nour performs the Lebanese National Anthem and LAU’s alma mater. From left: Leila Solh Hamadeh, former minister; Jean Kahwajy, chief of Lebanese army; Mona Elias Hraoui; Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra, president of LAU; Suad Juffali, former LAU board member; MP Fouad Siniora, former prime minister, and his wife Huda; MP Bahia Hariri, head of the Parliamentary Commission for Education.


Parade winds around generous contributors Fouad Makhzoumi, left, Claudine and Elie Saab as they enjoy the live entertainment.


Joumana Abou Eid, master of ceremonies, stands next to Joseph G. Jabbra, president of LAU. Jabbra thanked guests for bolstering the university’s commitment to academic excellence, prosperity and progress. “These are the values we seek: a cultivated society where nobody is above the law, where human behavior is led by innovation and achievement,” he said in his welcome speech.


Sotheby’s Aileen Hagopian auctions rare antiques as well as paintings by Lebanese international artists, LAU faculty member Chaouki Chamoun and alumna Rana Raouda. The auction generated $297,000.


Renowned painter and LAU faculty member Chaouki Chamoun’s Peace Always Comes Back was sold at $180,000.


Ambassador Gilbert Chagoury and his wife Rose-Marie, longtime supporters of LAU and eponymous benefactors of LAU’s School of Medicine, were the winning bidders for many of the items auctioned.


On the occasion of the gala dinner Danièle and Edgar de Picciotto (left and middle) generously contributed to the Endowed Scholarship Fund with $500,000. At right, May Ogden Smith who has actively participated in the organization of the gala dinner.


President Jabbra announced a $6 million donation from Antoun N. Sehnaoui, chairman and CEO of Société Générale de Banque au Liban, to name the athletic center that is being built on the Byblos campus and in honor of LAU’s athletic achievements.


Rima and Amal Hourani, generous contributors to LAU financial aid and scholarships fund (middle and right), with Nassib Nasser, LAU assistant vice president for development, who played a key role in the success of the event.


Musical act Gary and Dany serenades dinner guests.


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