Maroun Se­maan

Maroun Se­maan’s record-break­ing do­na­tion to the Univer­sity of Beirut is meant to shape the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers. The prom­i­nent busi­ness­man and ed­u­ca­tional phi­lan­thropist left as his legacy a bet­ter fu­ture for us all.

Bespoke - - THE CONTENTS -

In­fla­tion, salaries, prop­erty main­te­nance, up­grades, in­tro­duc­ing new cur­ric­ula, let’s be hon­est, run­ning an in­sti­tute of higher ed­u­ca­tion is very ex­pen­sive. You can turn to tu­ition fees and alumni as­so­ci­a­tions, rev­enues from in­tel­lec­tual prop­er­ties and, if you have a health­care arm, hos­pi­tal­iza­tions. But tu­ition can only be raised so high be­fore it be­comes coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, alumni as­so­ci­a­tions aren’t ma­jor earn­ers and even the most suc­cess­ful hos­pi­tals make less money than they did in the past. Else­where, the State plays a role, but in Lebanon, a coun­try where ed­u­ca­tion is big busi­ness and gov­ern­ment aid is a chimera, what’s a univer­sity to do? The tra­di­tional an­swer, both in Lebanon and abroad, has been to ap­peal to bene­fac­tors, whether for­mer alumni or so­cially minded phi­lan­thropists, who are pre­pared to fund the ed­u­ca­tion of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Still, do­na­tions, even large do­na­tions, only go so far. Ex­plain­ing that one of the best busi­ness adages is that 'the best cus­tomer is a re­peat cus­tomer', Dr. Fadlo Khuri, Pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Beirut lays out his vi­sion for turn­ing one-off donors into in­vestors whose aim ex­tends beyond sim­ply help­ing. “What drives good phi­lan­thropy is be­liev­ing that you are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence by in­vest­ing in some­thing larger, to achieve some­thing that you couldn’t do on your own,” he ex­plains, as our con­ver­sa­tion turns to­wards the late Maroun Se­maan, who ear­lier this year, made the sin­gle largest do­na­tion that AUB has re­ceived in its en­tire 151-

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