Planting for the Future

July 29, 2012

The class of 2012 may have graduated but they certainly have not been forgotten. Dozens of former students returned to their alma mater this October for a reception celebrating the unveiling of two commemorative ‘Class of 2012’ trees.

In the first of what will become an annual tradition at commencement, LAU’s Development Office invited graduating students to make small donations towards planting class trees. More than 500 graduates responded to the appeal, generating over $5,000. The money will be used to augment LAU’s financial aid packages for disadvantaged and deserving students, a gesture befitting of the proverb, “he who plants a tree loves others beside himself.”

At receptions for the students, LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra unveiled olive trees planted outside the School of Business building in Beirut and the Frem Civic Center on the Byblos campus. A commemorative plaque honoring the graduating class of 2012 can be seen at the base of the tree trunks.

“This is a wonderful occasion that brings together the symbol of everlasting life with life itself, represented through our students,” said Dr. Jabbra in his welcoming address. “It is a major event in the evolution of the institution and highlights one of LAU’s strengths, which is its spirit of bringing people together.”

Contributing graduates expressed enthusiasm for environmental sustainability and university improvement. “Besides just donating, it’s nice to be able to contribute towards greening the campus,” said Farah Shami at the Beirut reception. “Our campus is quite small so having more trees and greenery really helps give the university a greater sense of space and serenity.”

Abdallah Al Khal, executive director of Alumni Relations, urged the Class of 2012 to stay in touch with LAU. “The Plant Your Class Tree project is a fantastic opportunity to not only stay connected with each other but also spiritually connected to LAU and help members of the incoming class. As Alumni office director, I want you to know that LAU is a family and that this family extends beyond your graduation date. Please keep in contact with us.”

LAU is more committed than ever to attracting a diverse student body through increased financial aid, scholarships, study/work programs and grants. This year over 2,200 deserving students are receiving some form of financial assistance.

Nelly Awad, a contributor to the campaign, said she appreciated the opportunity to assist current LAU students. “There’s a saying, ‘good things come in small packages.’ Through the small contributions of all of us here today, we were able to help contribute towards the tuition of other students. It’s a nice legacy to leave and I hope that someday we can do something similar at my workplace.”