Did you know that:
1. The American University of Beirut, established in 1866 by President Daniel Bliss, was called the Syrian Protestant College (SPC) up until 1920.
2. Most of the university’s land was bestowed by families from Ras Beirut during the early days of its establishment.
3. On December 3, 1866, the very first class in the Syrian Protestant College commenced. Technically, that makes AUB older than Germany and a witness to the untimely events of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the World Wars and the Cold War.
4. The very first building, College Hall, was completed in 1871.
5. Ten out of 15 presidents at AUB studied at an Ivy League school.
6. Cornelius Van Dyck and Nasif el Yazigi, both professors at the SPC, edited and completed Eli Smith’s copy of the first Bible translated into modern, spoken Arabic in 1867. It’s known as the Smith-Van Dyke translation.
7. Although the modern discovery of Jeitta Grotto was initiated by American missionary William Thomson, two extremely important expeditions in 1873 and 1874 by W. Maxwell and H. Huxley were undertaken along with President Daniel Bliss.
8. President Bliss engraved his name on a limestone pillar in Jeitta.
9. Although the Lee Observatory is now closed and astronomy is no longer taught (as of the 1970s), it’s worth knowing that when it opened in 1873, it was the very first of its kind in the Middle East.
10. While World War I created animosity between the United States and Turkey, AUB, under President Howard Bliss, chose to keep the university’s doors open and was very accommodating towards international students who couldn’t leave Beirut.
11. Only once throughout the entirety of its history did AUB officially close – with the exception of the School of Dentistry. This happened for two weeks in April of 1917 during which relations between the Ottomans and Americans were rigorously condemned.
12….read more here.