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Steady Student Enrollment, but Financial Difficulties

Student Enrollment at SPC during WWI.jpg

Student enrollment during WWI, Predient's Annual Report 1923/24, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

Throughout the war, student enrollment remained fairly steady at SPC: a slight increase can be noticed in 1914, and then again in 1919; the end of the war brought an influx of many regional Arab and foreign students. The academic year 1914/15 saw an increase in enrollment due to the closing of many local and regional Jesuit, British, Scottish and Russian Schools in Greater Syria. The years 1916 and 1917, on the other hand, saw the lowest student enrollment: many students had to leave the College due to martial laws, military service, coastal blockade, lack of financial support, and/or lack of appropriate transportation, uncertainty of communication with families abroad, and fear.


Faculty and Students 1919, Front row from L-R: Arthur R. Dray, Triantorphyllo Constantine Ladakis, Harry Gaylord Dorman, Harris Graham, Edward Frederick Nickoley, Walter Booth Adams, James Alfred Patch, Edwin Ward, William Thomson Van Dyck,______, Archives and Special Collection, Jafet Library, AUB

As the Great War came to an end, SPC had to face its financial deficit, due to the toll the war had taken on its finances: President Howard Bliss sailed to America in March of that year, in search of a solution for the College's financial troubles. The document he compiled was presented the following year on May 15, 1919 to the Board of Trustees. The needs were summarized as falling under five general areas: a) Increase in salaries according to plans approved before the war; b) War emergency expenses with a total debt of $200,000, due to inflation, exchange fluctuations, new taxes, and emergency relief for stranded students; c) Repairs and maintenance of existing plant, as these were put on hold during the War; d) Increasing the efficiency of the College by acquiring necessary tools and equipment; e) Expansion plans, e.g. buying  land and introducing or building on existing strengths in different fields like agriculture, engineering and medical etc. Subsequently, the Board of Trustees voted in favor of a fundraising campaign of $200,000 to cover debts incurred by the College, and of $800,­000 to be used towards the College's endowment, in the hope of meeting its growing needs, its plans for expansion and new programs, and of supporting its future goals.