A Big Event for A Big Cause: LAU’s 7th Annual Fundraising Gala Dinner

LAU supporters celebrate the university’s achievements and reaffirm its commitment to providing opportunities for deserving students.

By Naseem Ferdowsi

Dr. Jabbra thanked LAU’s supporters for their generosity and steadfast belief in the university and its students.

LAU’s biggest fundraising event of the year – the Annual Fundraising Gala Dinner – was held on December 6, 2018 to raise money for the university’s scholarship and financial aid program. Drawing in more than 700 attendees, the special event was themed LAU is Here for You, a reference to the institution’s commitment to providing opportunities for the most deserving students, regardless of their background.

“All of Lebanon is represented here tonight and we thank you for your support, and extend to each and every one of you, our gratitude for your generosity and presence at this important event,” said LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra, during his opening speech. “Most importantly, we thank you for believing in LAU and our students,” added Jabbra.

The décor at the Beirut New Waterfront’s Seaside Pavilion evoked Lebanon’s unique charms: lights glowed warmly, inspiring images of the country floated across wall-to-wall LED screens, and table centerpieces portrayed rustic Lebanese homes. The evening’s entertainment – provided by chanteuse Carole Samaha – also added to the atmosphere, as the singer performed some of Lebanon’s most widely known songs.

Guests were treated to a short film showcasing eight students from across the country – Baakline, Batroun, Beirut, Kfarchouba, Nabatieh, West Bekaa, Zahle, and Zgharta – all of whom benefit from financial support. The journey of these young scholars from their hometowns to LAU paints an inspirational picture of how critical financial support is to students, many of whom consider it a lifeline for their studies.

“Coming from the West Bekaa, I had to work very hard to get good grades in order to get the scholarship I needed, and eventually, the job I want, which will give me security when I grow up,” said Nour Al Nahas, a third-year civil engineering student featured in the short film. The daughter of a bus driver and a tailor, she received a full scholarship to attend LAU and hopes to land a job that will give her and her family greater financial stability.

Al Nahas is not alone. There are thousands of LAU students in similar situations, as Assistant Vice President for Development Nassib N. Nasr explained.

“With our donors’ incredible support and generosity, LAU has helped 4,100 students this year alone by dispersing $32 million in scholarships and financial aid,” said Nasr, who is also chair of the Gala Dinner Steering Committee. “These students come from all over the country and region – and thanks to our supporters – they are currently making their dreams a reality by attending our university,” he added.  

President Jabbra echoed Nasr’s sentiment, and extended it to the entire country needing support, saying, “Lebanon is here for all of us. We all do our best – institutions, people, and supporters of LAU – to keep this country together. And with your help, we will!”

LAU first began holding its annual Fundraising Gala Dinner in Beirut in 2012. The inaugural event raised an impressive $7.5 million, and successive ones have had similarly grand results, all in support of the Gala Dinner Endowed Scholarship Fund, which supports academically qualified yet economically disadvantaged students so they can benefit from an LAU education.   

To learn more about the Gala Dinner initiative and this year’s event, please click here.