AUC Community Rises to the Challenge, Gives Back to AUC

Throughout the year, students, faculty and staff donated $34,161 to AUC, exceeding the $30,000 President's Challenge Fund.

President Francis J. Ricciardone and Dr. Marie Ricciardone announced in October 2016 during the presidential inauguration the launch of the President’s Challenge Fund as a way to build a culture of giving on campus. The fund matches each dollar donated from a student, faculty or staff member. While the original ceiling on the fund was set at $30,000, it was expanded to cover the additional contributions of the AUC community. 

“What matters is that we all participate,” noted President Ricciardone. “A gift of any amount means that we stand together as one, solid community to support AUC.”

In addition to the President’s Challenge Fund, President Ricciardone and Dr. Marie contributed a total of $100,000 this fiscal year, making it the largest single gift from a current AUC president. The gift was directed to the President’s Challenge Fund, Emergency Scholarship Grants and scholarship support through AUC’s New York Benefit Dinner. 

Students: ‘AUC is My Home’

Since the beginning of the year, 167 students, faculty and staff donated to AUC, of whom 65 percent are students. 

“I give back to AUC because I believe in the quality of skills and experiences that AUC gives to all students, and I would like to give that same chance for all students to learn,” said Andrew Magdy Ishak, a petroleum engineering graduating senior.

Echoing Ishak’s sentiments, Mariam Thabet, an economics graduating senior who is a recipient of the Atef and Fofa Eltoukhy Family Endowed Scholarship, said, “I’m a full-scholarship student, and I know the importance of giving back to AUC because you give a chance to other recipients to learn at such a great University.”

For other students, AUC is home away from home. “I give to AUC because it’s my home, and we should give back to our home,” said Amira Mostafa, an economics graduating senior. “Even if it’s a small amount, it matters. In the future, if I’m able to give more, I will do so to help enhance AUC’s learning environment.”

Aya Emam, an undergraduate majoring in graphic design and music performance,noted that participating in the AUC Annual Fund through the University’s work-study program helped her “learn more about AUC.” She reflected, “It’s very rewarding to know that when we, students, give back to AUC, we are making a difference in the lives of other students and helping our country as well during these tough times. It’s important to see that AUC gave us [students and alumni] a lot. AUC is a big part of us –– as students, our memories, our skills and our friends.”

Alumni: ‘AUC Got Me Where I Am Today’

As many alumni affirmed, giving back is not about the money, but the meaning behind it. “I gave back to AUC because that is where I belong,” said Omar Khalifa ’09, founder and CEO of “AUC made me the person who I am today. I think it’s very important for us to keep giving back to make the University more sustainable. It doesn’t have to be a big amount. It could be something symbolic, but it shows our appreciation of the education we got and what we’re contributing to the economy today.”

By giving back, Khalifa added, we are supporting“the next generation in a direct way, and it’s something that makes me proud. I’ll always be thankful to AUC.”

For Omar El Shenety ’05, founder and managing director of Multiples Group, giving back creates opportunities for top-caliber, deserving students to join the University. He reflected on how the scholarships he received while at AUC are “a significant reason”he got to where he is today. “Being a fresh AUC graduate, I had a chance to join a good consulting firm, and this definitely had a major impact on my career,” El Shenety recalled. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity that AUC gave me.Without such kind scholarships and support that people give to AUC, individuals like myself would have never had the chance to come to AUC or progress socially, get a good education and have a positive effect in the community. I give back because I would like to see many other people like me have the chance to join AUC.”

Sharing the same viewpoint, Loaii Zoheir ’02, sales director at Telecom Group for Cisco systems in Egypt, said, “I give back to the University because I believe in the cause. It’s important to give to better help students and contribute to developing the best caliber of students–– the crème de la crème of the University,” 

As President Ricciardone noted in his inaugural speech, reflecting on AUC’s culture of giving, “Together, we are committed to passing The American University in Cairo on to future generations even stronger than we have found it, revitalizing its strong legacy and culture of giving, of service and of excellence.” 

You may make a gift to support scholarships, the AUC Annual Fund or any other purpose you select by contacting Farida Ahmed, associate director of gift processing, at ext. 2481 or, or Afaf Fahmy, director of the AUC Annual Fund, at ext. 2389 or Gifts may be made online at Faculty and staff members may also make gifts through a convenient monthly automatic payroll deduction.