AUB Wins Two Gold Awards for Its 150th Anniversary Initiatives

Press release
Published June 19th, 2017 - 10:51 GMT
The 2017 Circle of Excellence honorees represent more than 200 institutions from 11 countries.
The 2017 Circle of Excellence honorees represent more than 200 institutions from 11 countries.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), announced the winners of its prestigious Circle of Excellence Awards on June 14, 2017 and the American University of Beirut (AUB) struck gold two times. CASE recognized AUB for the top prize in the category of “book design” for the volume Lead, Innovate, Serve and in the category of “special events, year-long” for AUB’s 150th anniversary throughout 2016.

A panel of experts gave AUB a gold award for the book Lead, Innovate, Serve: A Visual History of the American University of Beirut's First One Hundred and Fifty Years edited by Ada H. Porter and designed by Nour Kanafani of Communication Design s.a.l. Numerous researchers, writers, editors, archivists, and essayists contributed to producing this cohesive visual record of AUB’s 150-year history, from its modest missionary beginnings to its place as the foremost liberal arts institution and medical center in the Middle East.

“This was a beautiful book!” said the judge’s report. “The integration of history, photographs, narrative, and quotes was done with remarkable skill. The attention to detail was stellar. The typography is wonderful! The illustrated graphic features were at once charming and informative, mixing Arabic and Roman fonts.”

The book is also a showcase of the treasures held in the AUB University Libraries and its Department of Archives and Special Collections, which provided a rich assortment of maps, charters, letters, newspaper articles, drawings, and ephemera from the institution’s earliest days to its most recent activities. Introductory essays by respected figures of the AUB community provided additional insight into the significance and zeitgeist of each era to begin each chapter of the book.

The University also received a Circle of Excellence Gold award for the year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary. Special events for this notable milestone began in January 2016 and continued throughout the year under the banner of “We Make History.”  AUB’s broad community came together to create a year filled with academic, cultural, student, and alumni events that created great momentum.

“In a field full of anniversary events, AUB's submission stood out for a few main reasons,” explained the judge of this category. “The first, being the litmus test of being mission driven, which their events certainly were. Next, AUB reached out to the student community to solicit ideas for what their celebration service project would be. No other school expressed crowdsourcing their events. And lastly, the celebration was funded fully by $2.1M in donations! That is an incredible and impressive feat!”

In keeping with the specifications for this category, only four of the 150th events were highlighted, giving a sample of the rich calendar of 2016: the presidential inauguration and launch of the 150th anniversary; the student-led community service project Light Up a Village; the AUB Theater Initiative’s translation and performance of Shakespeare’s King Lear in colloquial Lebanese Arabic; and alumni events around the world that saw an unprecedented number of attendees, totaling 12,000.

The submission for this entry gave evidence that the commemoration of AUB’s 150th year was driven by the university’s mission and engaged the University community in both planning and implementation. The CASE judges were especially impressed by the 150th Strategic Partners, whose generous donations made it possible to hold a year-long celebration of AUB’s anniversary without spending a single penny of University funds.

CASE is one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations with more than 3600 member institutions in more than 80 countries around the globe. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information, and standards in the fields of education fundraising, communications, marketing and alumni relations.

The 2017 Circle of Excellence honorees represent more than 200 institutions from 11 countries. According to CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham, “These awards acknowledge superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, and deliver exceptional results.”

Background Information

American University of Beirut

Founded in 1866, the American University of Beirut is a teaching-centered research university based on the American liberal arts model of higher education. AUB has over 9,000 students and over 1,200 instructional faculty members. The University encourages freedom of thought and expression and seeks to graduate men and women committed to creative and critical thinking, lifelong learning, personal integrity, civic responsibility, and leadership.

Contact Information

American University of Beirut
P.O.Box 11-0236 / (Department)
Riad El-Solh / Beirut 1107 2020
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