AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

SPC 50th Anniversary

Asaad Khairallah.jpg

As'ad Khairallah , Director of the American Press ca. 1910s, courtesy of Mrs. Helen Badaro, grand daughter

The College's 50th anniversary was celebrated with a very low profile, due to the hard social, economic and political conditions. Still, Faculty, Administration and students did their best to show pride in the achievements of their College: in his recollection of 50 years of academic work in Syria, President Howard Bliss stated: “At first the College was conducted by three teachers; it was housed in a few small rooms; the pupils numbered sixteen. […] During these fifty years the attendance has increased to nearly one thousand; the teaching and administrative force includes ninety-three names; twenty-five substantial buildings and not a few smaller structures are to be found upon a campus of fifty acres, situated in the most beautiful part of the city; four hundred and forty-one young men have taken the degree of Bachelor of Arts; five hundred and twenty-five have become doctors; two hundred and forty-eight have become pharmacists; one hundred and eighteen have become merchants; thirty young women have received the Trained Nurse’s Certificate; twelve are dentists; more than a thousand have won the graduating certificate of the Preparatory Department making a total number of two thousand seven hundred and thirty-four diplomas and certificates that have been awarded. In addition to those who have received degrees there have been thousands of students who have taken a partial course, Founded for the special benefit of the youth of “Syria and adjacent lands”, the term adjacent has, as a matter of fact, included places as far away from Syria as South America, Persia, Singapore, South Africa, Abyssinia, and the confines of Thibet."

President's Annual report, 1915/16, p:4, AUB Archives.

Professor Crawford Prayer.jpg

Prayer by James Stewart Crawford,   Professor of Bible and Ethics,  1916, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB


Upon the recommendation of the Jubilee Celebration Committee the Faculty has voted to postpone the more elaborate celebrations of the Jubilee of the College as outlined by the Committee until after the war. But it was provided that at the Commencement Day, June 14, 1916, fitting mention should be made of the fact that the College was closing its fiftieth year, and that the President should give a synopsis of the History of the first half century of the College’s life. In addition to that two of SPC founding fathers, President Daniel Bliss and Trustee D. Stuart Dodge, were awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees. It was further provided that on December 3, 1916, the Fiftieth Anniversary of the actual opening of the College, the President should preach an Anniversary Sermon, to be followed on Sunday evening and on Monday, December 4th, by appropriate exercises.

President's Annual report, 1915/16,  p:4, AUB Archives.