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College Hall and the first medical building were completed and occupied in 1873 and the bell in the tower of College Hall pealed for the first time in March 1874. However, College Hall was extensively damaged by a savage explosion in the early morning of November 8, 1991 and had to be demolished.

On November 8, 1992, at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the bombing and at which the cornerstone of the new College Hall was laid by His Excellency the President of the Republic Mr. Elias Hraoui, the then President of AUB, Dr. Frederic Herter, said the following:

“Today, 120 years after the dedication of the original building, I still find myself awed by the words of our Founder. But the past century has brought changes to our institution. We are no longer a Protestant missionary outpost. The American University today is a secular university of size and import; certainly the Middle East has become more populous and complex in its sociopolitical structure.

But the credo of Daniel Bliss is as true today as in 1871, and I think he would be proud indeed of AUB were he alive now. We remain an institution with doors open to all who wish to learn, regardless of color, or sex, or nationality, or political belief, or religious persuasion;

we welcome diversity, new ideas, new faces; we insist on freedom of expression and action, as long as it does not endanger the public welfare; and we hold that nothing exists within the realm of human knowledge or experience which cannot or should not be examined. Further, we believe that the purpose of an education is to open doors to the mind and the spirit, to stimulate curiosity and imagination, to develop the capacity in our students to think for themselves. Finally, we hold that with the gift of learning comes the responsibility for the human community, an obligation to use knowledge and skills thoughtfully and in the interests of all. This implies a sense of caring."

“We are firm in these beliefs, and in the nature of our mission. We are proud of what AUB has done in its long history – for Lebanon, for the Middle East, and, indeed, for the entire civilized world – and we are proud of our joint American-Lebanese heritage. To those who would do us ill, this ceremony today should be a defiant answer –
we are here to stay, bombs notwithstanding, and we look ahead with confidence to another century of education and service.”

The School of Medicine was started in 1867. A Preparatory School (which was then part of the College) was started in 1871 (now International College); the School of Pharmacy (which closed in 1979) was also started in 1871. The School of Commerce, later incorporated in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, began in 1900. With the opening of the Hospital in 1905, a School of Nursing was started that same year. In 1910 a School of Dentistry was opened, and operated for thirty years.

The Faculty of Engineering and Architecture was started in 1951; the Faculty of Agriculture, now the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, in 1952; and the School of Public Health, now the Faculty of Health Sciences, in 1954. The Division of Education Programs was established in 1976.


On November 18, 1920, the Board of Regents of the State University of New York changed the name of the institution from Syrian Protestant College to American University of Beirut; other charter amendments expanded the functions of the University. back

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