LAU’s already vast collection of reference books and magazines has just been expanded, thanks to a generous donation from the Maïla family. Longstanding members of LAU’s network of supporters, the Maïlas have recently continued their legacy by donating to the institution an antique encyclopedia as well as an impressive array of historical magazines spanning 35 years of print.
Originally belonging to the late Georges Maïla, the books and magazines were donated by his family, including his five children -- Joseph, Michel, Maryse, Anne-Marie, and Liliane -- and their spouses. Maïla was a prominent Lebanese banker and served as the Security General of the Association of Banks in Lebanon for over 25 years. He was a longstanding admirer of knowledge and advocate for education, which he instilled in his children – many of whom are leading university professors, bankers, and some of the country’s most prominent business leaders.
“There is no guardian we’d rather pass along these valuable books to than LAU,” said Liliane Moutran, at the gift ceremony hosted by President Joseph G. Jabbra on the Beirut campus in September that brought together all of the Maïla children and their spouses, along with many LAU Advancement leaders.
Adding to his sister’s comment, Michel Maïla noted the shared values between LAU and their late father. “I couldn’t think of a better recipient of our father’s collection of materials than LAU, given that we share the same values of serving others, leadership, lifelong learning, and academic excellence,” he explained.
The first edition Britannica Encyclopedia and extensive archive of National Geographic Magazines spanning from 1952 to 1987 are valuable new assets to visitors of the university’s libraries. Encyclopedia Britannica was first published in 1768, and after 244 years it went out of print in 2012. The particular volume of Encyclopedias gifted by the Maïla family happens to be the first edition of the renowned reference book, making it a historical addition to LAU’s bank of resources.
The Maïla donation of the National Geographic magazines, which launched in 1888, is of particular significance for its inclusion of some of the most historical issues ever printed. Among them are the 1959 issue, which features its first colored photograph cover, the 1969 issue that highlighted the world’s first explorers to reach the moon, and the 1985 world-famous issue with the iconic ‘Afghan Girl’ portrait cover.
Closing the ceremony, President Jabbra noted that having a network of generous supporters like the Maïlas helps make LAU the distinguished university that it is. “It is a collective effort that has led this institution to take its place in the constellation of leading institutions of American higher education in the entire region, not only in Lebanon,” he said.
Non-monetary donations such as equipment, artwork, valuable personal property, or book collections like that of the Maïlas, are important to LAU. It is through these types of donations that donors are able to play an important role in helping LAU fulfill its promise of providing the best possible educational experience for its students.