AUB Libraries Online Exhibits


Students on Campus, 1920s-Ph_AUB_1920s-1930s_2_1-60g.jpg

The American University of Beirut Campus, ca. 1920

Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

During this period great changes occurred both on the University level as well as the political arena in the Middle East. The College lost both its President, Howard Bliss, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, D. Stuart Dodge, which lead to the need to reorganize the College. Also the Syrian Protestant College obtained a University Charter and became the American University of Beirut with all the academic and administrative changes needed.The political arena in the Middle East had tremendous changes, with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and its replace with the French and British Mandates, many kingdoms were established. Economy was starting to boom with the petroleum being the principle source of wealth in Southern Near East. Rail roads and airplanes connected different isolated parts of the Near East. Radio and telephone were introduced and helped the citizens of remote areas get in touch with modernity. During this transition period, heavy responsibilities have been laid upon the University. There has been a desperate need for young trained men and women to take the lead in every walk of life. The University in its attempt to meet these needs tremendously increased its assets, like land 40 to 80 acres and buildings from 29 to 49, admitted more students from 913 to 1938 and increased its staff from 98 to 286. All this was possible by increasing the tuition and by soliciting more grants from the United States mainly with the help of Ford Foundation and the Near East College Association.