The Legacy and the Promise: LAU launches its Campaign for Excellence
The public phase of LAU’s $65-million Campaign for Excellence, known as “The Legacy and the Promise,” was launched October 31 with a gala dinner.
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“The Legacy and the Promise: LAU’s Campaign for Excellence” has entered its public phase, which was launched October 31 with a gala dinner at BIEL Center, in the presence of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and around 600 LAU community members, alumni, donors, and other prominent figures.
As part of the university’s five-year strategic plan, the campaign seeks to raise $65 million to enhance three areas: student support, focused primarily on financial aid and merit scholarships; academic support, intended for encouraging educational and professional development, and establishing endowed chairs; and facilities development, aimed at campus expansion and the improvement of existing physical resources.
The public phase of the comprehensive fundraising initiative—the first in LAU’s history—came after more than $36 million were raised during the campaign’s “quiet phase” over the past two years. Because of this success and the faith of benefactors in its plans, the university has increased its previous $40-million goal.
“When people have faith in what it is you are doing, they are ready to be part of that. They are ready to be part of a success story, and ours is a very successful story,” said LAU President Joseph Jabbra.
The dinner itself was not a fundraising event, said Samir Kadi, Assistant Vice President for Development. It was “only a way to celebrate together that we have achieved more than half of the campaign’s initial objective to raise $40 million,” he added.
In his gala dinner speech, Jabbra listed some of LAU’s latest achievements, such as the establishment of the Nursing School in conjunction with Northeastern University, Boston; the recent groundbreaking of the School of Medicine that will be admitting its first class next fall; and the steps made towards achieving NEASC accreditation by 2009.
“We’re excited about where LAU is headed and the tremendous strides that the university has made over the last couple of years both in its growth and in the quality of education it provides,” said Richard Rumsey, Vice President for University Advancement.
Although it is kicking off during one of the most challenging economic times in decades, the campaign will continue to be compelling to donors because of the university’s uniqueness, according to Robert Hollback, Director of Development for North America. “LAU has a long history of providing an American-style liberal arts education to students in the Middle East, and we’re one of only a handful of universities doing this in the region. This mandate is something that differentiates us from so many other universities,” he said.
“Investing in education is the best investment that anybody can make in the future not only of this country but of this region,” said Jabbra.
A film, featuring LAU’s President, board members, donors, alumni and students, and specifically produced for the campaign, made its debut during the ceremony.
Mrs. Suad Juffali, an alumna appearing in the movie, said she had been involved in the campaign “to help those young people who cannot afford anything but they have the brains, they have the intelligence and they have the good will to do something.”
The night of the ceremony, the campaign website was also launched, making it easy for supporters to contribute online and follow up on the progress of fundraising.
The launching ceremony was an opportunity to have the entire “LAU extended family” come together Kadi said, although it was no small feat. Lana Abou Teen, Assistant Director of Development, said, “The spirit of the team working on this launch was above all challenges.”