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When Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Salma Dannawi Oueida and the Office of Alumni Relations team started preparations for Class Reunion 2020, they planned for everything – at least they thought they had! “It's true – we didn't plan for a COVID-19 pandemic," says Oueida. Although everyone was disappointed that it was impossible to welcome alumni and their families to campus, AUB's first ever E-Class Reunion was a great success. “We were really delighted that so many alumni – and friends as well – participated in this year's reunion. Change can be a good thing. In this case, making reunion an all-virtual event made it possible for many more alumni from outside Lebanon to take part," said Oueida.
President Fadlo R. Khuri kicked off Reunion 2020 on July 6th with a welcome message to “beloved AUB alumni all around the world." He congratulated all celebrating classes especially the members of the Classes of 1970 and 1995 who celebrated 50th and 25th reunions in 2020. The president also expressed his profound gratitude to AUB alumni and alumni chapters around the world that have stepped forward to support AUB providing urgently needed assistance for AUB students, staff, faculty, and patients. “We need not just your financial support, but also your valuable advice, engagement, counsel, mentorship and help for our younger graduates as they secure jobs and settle into new communities around the world in this challenging time," said Khuri.
A series of virtual talks and panel discussions with each of AUB's seven academic deans were organized over the span of seven days covering various topics from the future of higher education to news from the faculties and updates on the situation in Lebanon. The number of attendees was impressive. The deans were especially excited about the participation and engagement of alumni during the presentations. They appreciate the importance of staying in touch and exchanging ideas with their alumni and are looking forward to working with the Office of Alumni Relations to organize similar talks in the future. (You can watch all of the deans' presentations here.)
One of the highlights of class reunions each year is the entertainment. The same was true in 2020 with performances by Guy Manoukian and Joseph Attieh, recorded during Reunion 2019. Jihad Akl also recorded a special performance for Reunion 2020 showcasing the AUB campus –bringing the campus to AUB alumni.
Plans are already underway for Reunion 2021. “We're hoping we can celebrate with our alumni in person next year. For those of you who missed the excitement, joy, and anticipation of Class Reunion on the AUB campus, I am thrilled to let you know that our original plans for 2020 have been postponed to 2021," said Oueida. “In the meantime, we urge all of our alumni to stay in touch. We are here for you. Reach out to us anytime. It's so easy to do with our new AUB Alumni mobile app (Apple Store | Google Play Store) and by following us on social media @aubalumniofficial – or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org"