“Our type of education is both practical and democratic. Our aim is that of a true school: to train useful and intelligent citizens, who will not tear down but build-up, who will live for public service, rather than for selfish gain.”
Bayard Dodge: Inauguration Address, June 28, 1923
AUB Timeline: a chronological line that you can click on for bits of history, AUB firsts, medicine and health, campus and more.
Selected events of AUB history (1862 - 2015)
1862: W. M. Thomson proposes founding college in Beirut.
1863: The State of New York granted a charter to the Syrian Protestant College.
1865: Cornelius Van Dyck directed the translation of the Old Testament into Arabic.
1866: The Syrian Protestant College (SPC) opened with its first class of 18 students on December 3.
1866: Daniel Bliss becomes founding president of SPC from 1866-1902.
1867: The Syrian Protestant College started the 'School of Medicine'.
1870: The original portion of Ras Beirut campus was purchased.
1870: SPC graduates its first class of five students.
1871: First class of six medical doctors graduated from SPC.
1874: George E. Post launched the first Lebanese medical journal in Arabic, Al-Tabib.
1882: Edwin Lewis resigns following a controversy over Darwin. Campus's first students protest movements clamoring for freedom of speech on campus grew of that resignation.
1883: English became the main language of instruction in the “School of Medicine”.
1890: AUB awarded its first honorary doctorates to Yaqub Sarruf (BA 1870) and Faris Nimr (BA 1874), editors of al-Muqtataf a leading Arabic scientific and cultural monthly journals.
1894: The old observatory was rebuilt and completed in 1894. It was the first of its kind in this part of the world.
1897: SPC's General Statement of 1897-98 articulates for the first time that the Collegiate Department gives a liberal education.
1902: The College purchased a property across the street from AUB Medical Gate and established a 200-bed hospital that provided ancillary services.
1902: As of 1902 faculty were no longer required to sign the Declaration of Principles asserting the spiritual and missionary aims of the College that had been imposed after the Darwin controversy.
1910: Al-Kulliyah Published for the first time.
1914: West Hall was opened. Originally, West Hall housed a skating rink and a bowling alley.
1915: During WWI SPC doctors, nurses, and students played pivotal roles assisting relief efforts of the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief.
1917: SPC suspended classes for first time in its history during World War I from April to May of 1917 with the exception of the Dental School.
1917: During WWI Beirut became a German submarine base and SPC's hospital treated many war casualties.
1918: Al-Urwa al-Wuthqa Association was founded.
1920: The Syrian Protestant College becomes the American University of Beirut and makes all professors equal.
1922: In December, 1922, May Ziadeh became the first woman to lecture at AUB.
1923: Shah of Persia visits AUB.
1923: New constitution for AUB.
1924: AUB officially became fully coeducational for a brief period in 1924; this followed a 1920 decision permitting women to enroll in graduate programs.
1927: AUB began leasing a piece of coastal land north of campus, now known as AUB Beach.
1928: Anbara Salam Khalidi lectures at AUB without the viel.
1929: AUB hosts the first solo art exhibition in Lebanon for artist Mustafa Farroukh.
1931: AUB began publishing the archaeological journal ‘Berytus’.
1932: Mandatory chapel attendance dropped.
1933: Edma Abu-Chedid becomes the first women to earn a medical doctorate from AUB.
1941: AUB becomes WWII safehaven. People, came from the surrounding neighborhoods to sleep under the trees or in shelters on AUB's Campus.
1943: First Student Council elected.
1945: On June 26, 1945, nineteen AUB alumni attended the San Francisco Conference, where the UN Charter was signed. Charles Malik helps draft UN's seminal human rights document
1950: Women's Auxiliary established.
1952: US first lady Eleanor Roosevelt visits AUB.
1952: The Alumni Club was built behind the AUB hospital.
1952: The Jafet Memorial Library, dedicated on May 5, 1952, was donated by the descendants of Nami Jafet (1860-1923).
1954: Political protests on campus. AUB students conducted large-scale demonstrations in support of Palestinians and Algerians and against the Western-led Baghdad Pact.
1955: AUB issues first Mission Statement.
1955: Egyptian writer and intellectual Taha Hussein visits AUB.
1958: AUB is a site for the first open-heart surgery in Lebanon and the Middle East.
1960: Indian Prime Minister Jawaharal Nehru visited AUB's campus and spoke to throngs of students and faculty at Assembly Hall.
1961: AUB introduces its first doctoral program.
1964: Olympic torch passes MainGate.
1965: AUB Professors Constantine Issidorides and Makhluf Haddadin discover the "Beirut Reaction," a chemical reaction that has led to the development of hundreds of antibacterial and anticancer drugs.
1969: Students create Speaker's Corner for open-air public speaking, debate, and discussion.
1971: Students protest 10% tuition increase; 22 are suspended.
1971: First kidney transplant performed at AUBMC.
1974: Student occupation of campus buildings in response to the AUB's administration attempt to increase tuition and fees by 10%.
1976: Tragic killings of FEA Dean Ghosn and Dean of Students Robert Najemy Najemy.
1980: AUB began its off-campus program in East Beirut.
1981: AUB Outdoors held for the first time with almost 1,000 participants.
1984: AUB President Malcolm Kerr is assassinated in College Hall (January 18).
1986: AUB closes after a series of kidnappings on the AUB community.
1989: In October, full academic program resumes after around seven months closing of the campus.
1991: College Hall bombed on November 8, 1991. The bomb destroyed a large portion of College Hall and part of Jafet Library.
1995: Annual Science Mathematics and Technology Fair held for the first time.
1998: Biology Students Society and Environment Club start Campus Recycling Program.
1999: College Hall reopens.
1999: AUB establishes Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (CAMS).
2001: AUB announces 20-year Campus Master Plan.
2002: Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research established.
2002: Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon opens at AUBMC.
2006: AUB establishes Center for Civic Engagement and Community Services.
2007: AUB opens the Abu Haidar Neuroscience Institute.
2007: AUB establishes Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources.
2007: AUB becomes smoke-free campus.
2007: Department of Design and Ecosystem Management was established.
2008: Former US President Jimmy Carter speaks at AUB.
2009: Charles Hostler Student Center completed.
2009: Suliman S. Olayan School of Business built.
2010: AUB launches Salim El-Hoss Bioethics and Professionalism Program.
2010: AUB announces University for Seniors.
2011: AUB establishes the Arabic Regional Center for Research and Training in Mental Health.
2011: AUB establishes Samih Darwazah Center for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship.
2012: AUB announces establishment of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship.
2012: AUB inaugurates AUB Art Gallery with first major public exhibition of Khalil Saleeby.
2012: Farouk K. Jabre Center for Arabic and Islamic Science and Philosophy was established.
2013: AUB inaugurates the new home of the Issam Fares Institute, designed by Zaha Hadid.
2014: AUB and partner universities launch a professional diploma in Green Technology.
2014: AUB announces largest gift in its history, donation of $32 million form Jamal Daniel and the Levant Foundation toward the University's Medical Center expansion.
2015: Board of Trustees votes to reinstate tenure.