centennial nights

Centennial Reflections

Francis J. Ricciardonepresident-ricciardone

"I feel very honored to have served as president through AUC’s 100th year. Our Centennial Nights, the climax of our yearlong celebrations, were just incredible: an intellectual and artistic feast, from Rana el Kaliouby’s riveting presentation on her innovative application of artificial intelligence to human betterment, to the fashion show led by students and alumni, the Student Union’s International Food Festival, the fireworks display and the 3D laser mapping of the portal. A creative army of enthusiastic students, faculty, staff and alumni conceived and produced these special festivities, further energizing our jump into the future. ...

Now we are focusing on “AUC Next 100”: our vision to build out the second phase of our gorgeous New Cairo campus. AUC community members have joined with international architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle, who are supporting us through this master planning process. We have well begun a structured, methodical conversation to define our priorities, generate creative options to achieve them, and then refine and transform them into physical reality. Do our students need more quiet space for study and collaboration? More studio space for art and architecture? Laboratories? Student residences? Our New Cairo campus was designed to be a living city of learning, and our role is to sustain and even increase its animation by designing and building the right facilities and spaces to suit our community’s and Egypt’s needs and ambitions for 2030 and far beyond."

— Ask the President, March 2020


Richard A. Bartlettrichard-bartlett

Welcome to the celebration of AUC’s centennial. It feels like it’s taken a century to get here! Thank you for joining us on this historic occasion. ... What many of you may not know is that the planning for [the centennial] really began almost 25 years ago in 1994. In that year, the AUC Board created a strategic planning group called the Century Committee to look ahead and develop a vision for the University when it turned 100. You may also not know that the original hope of our founders a century ago was not to have a downtown campus but rather a much larger suburban campus that would allow for a wider range of activities. But the economic situation and the aftermath of World War I made that impossible. ...

Tonight, we celebrate on this beautiful plaza, grateful to our founders and satisfied that our ambitions for our 100th anniversary were met. ... The success of our first 100 years gives us a confidence to plan that our founders could not have had. Throughout that period, our focus on our mission to Egypt in a University open to all without regard to race, religion, gender or politics has served us well. Our values have remained remarkably true to the liberal arts values of our
founders, and they will continue to be our guidepost going forward. ...

I want to close not with a description of a vision for the next 100 years but rather a hope. At the celebration of our next centennial, where we won’t be, I hope that our successors will look back at the AUC community of today and regard it as the wise and generous stewards that our predecessors were. ... The future of AUC is bright if we remain true to our values and all recognize ... the obligations that come with the privilege of being part of this University. As a community, let us join together in the service of that mission. Mabrouk, AUC.

— Centennial Nights AUC New Cairo, February 2020