In a warm ambiance filled with hearty feelings, the closing ceremony for the 150th year of the establishment of the American University of Beirut (AUB) took place on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at the College Hall Plaza. The ceremony, which was organized by AUB’s Office of Advancement, was attended by President Fadlo Khuri, Vice Presidents, faculty and staff members, along with students and alumni.
Around two hundred people filled Main Gate stairs and College Hall plaza for the evening, enjoying the beautiful lighting projected on College Hall, in blue, pink, and green. The ceremony, also held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of AUB, had a feel of Christmas as the Assembly Hall Garden was lit with Christmas decoration.
President Khuri, in his opening speech, thanked each and everyone who have worked on making the 150th anniversary celebrations a success.
“Starting with the inauguration ceremony that was so beautifully executed last January, without spending a penny of operating dollars or student tuition, the celebrations of AUB’s 150th year has been continuously running,” said Khuri, “This year was, to say the least, a chance to celebrate our distinguished achievements throughout the 150 years, but also a chance to reflect on our challenges, to identify and review the areas we need to improve and to grow, and to look boldly forward into the future, and know where we stand and where we aspire to stand decades from today.”
President Khuri emphasized on the history of AUB, and how during the great wars it stood firm against the hardships.
“We not only have managed to get through the war all while keeping our outstanding educational standards, graduating notable alumni and creating a difference in region and in the market place, but we have also done so with distinction, with honor and with inspiration,” he added.
The speech of the President was followed by a light show projected on the walls of College Hall, and a performance by Beirut Vocal Point (BVP), who astonished the crowd with beautiful Christmas melodies. BVP is an acappella group that started from AUB, back when its members were students at the University. They are grateful for the “art base and talent they found at AUB,” as claimed by the group after their performance.
The Arabic Ensemble of the AUB Zaki Nassif Program dazzled the crowd with Nassif’s famous melodies, performing for thirty minutes to an enthusiastic audience. Director of the orchestra General Georges Herro, on behalf on the ensemble, congratulated AUB on its 150th years, wishing the university “further success and distinction as it remains one of the best universities in the region.”
AUB students held a Dabke performance on the melodies of “Rajee’ yet’amar Lebnan,” a song by Zaki Nassif which was performed by the Ensemble.
Following, President Khuri, Vice President for Advancement Dr. Imad Baalbaki, Associate Vice President for Advancement Services Ms. Soha Hmaidan, and Special Advisor to the President Mr. Ibrahim Khoury, among others cut the cake as a celebration of AUB’s birthday. Cutting the cake was followed by confetti and smoking machines blast. The ceremony was followed by a reception.