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In 1862, American Missionaries in Lebanon and Syria,under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, asked Dr. Daniel Bliss to withdraw from the evangelistic work of the Mission in Lebanon in order to found a college of higher learning which would include medical training.

It was felt that this college should have an American educational character, should be administered independently from the Mission, and should be maintained by its own funds. Dr. Bliss sailed for the United States in the summer of 1862 to solicit funds for the new enterprise.

By August 1864, he had raised $100,000 but because of inflation during the Civil War it was decided that he should raise a sterling fund in England in order to start the operations of the college, leaving the dollar fund to appreciate in value. After collecting £4,000 in England, he sailed for Beirut in March, 1866.

While Dr. Bliss was raising money for the new school, the state of New York on April 24, 1863, granted a charter under the name of Syrian Protestant College. The College opened with its first class of 16 students on December 3, 1866.

The cornerstone of College Hall, the first building on the present campus in Ras Beirut, was laid on December 7, 1871, by the Honorable William E. Dodge, Sr., then Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, at a ceremony during which President Daniel Bliss expressed the guiding principle of the College in these words:

“This College is for all conditions and classes of men without regard to color, nationality, race or religion. A man, white, black, or yellow, Christian, Jew, Mohammedan or heathen, may enter and enjoy all the advantages of this institution for three, four or eight years; and go out believing in one God, in many gods, or in no God. But it will be impossible for anyone to continue with us long without knowing what we believe to be the truth and our reasons for that belief.” ...... continue

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