Spring is one of the best times of the year to be an American sports fan; I love this time of the year! For those of you who aren’t familiar, sixty-eight of the best college basketball teams from across the United States spend much of March trying to win a national championship. Millions of Americans follow the competition and try to predict the winners, and the tournament is infamous for upset wins and losses. We call this month-long ritual “March Madness" and it ended last night with the University of Connecticut beating the heavy underdog Butler University.
The Advancement division has been experiencing its own "March Madness" lately as well. LAU’s Board of Trustees just met in Washington, DC where we had a very positive and energetic gathering. Preparing for a board meeting requires a lot of hard work and I am grateful to our staff in the New York office for producing such a great event which, along with the typical activities of a BOT meeting, also included an energetic panel discussion with several noted journalists talking about the unprecedented popular uprisings taking place across the region.
But it wasn’t just our activities at the BOT in Washington that kept us busy last month. Our alumni chapters in Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Montreal each held major events that brought together hundreds of alumni and friends of LAU. The MarCom staff worked hard preparing the upcoming issue of LAU Magazine. And university administrators and staff traveled from Doha to Detroit and dozens of places in between last month meeting with potential supporters of the university.
My presentation at the BOT focused on the four pillars of our division, organization, outreach, marketing, and fundraising. The members of the board were pleased with our alumni network and our plans to push into Europe. They were also happy to hear about our communications and marketing efforts, in print and electronic formats, as well as through media channels. And they were certainly appreciative of our development efforts as we get ever closer to reaching the $65M goal of our current campaign. The board was also highly focused on Project 10, the new alumni giving program we are launching with a goal of increasing our alumni giving to 10% by the end of the campaign next year. The BOT meeting is a great opportunity to synthesis all of the great work that we do everyday to help advance our institution and to get perspective on where our future efforts should take us.
But the madness of March has spilled into April now as the advancement team makes the final preparations for LAU’s Second Annual Gala taking place in New York on April 15th. At this exciting event, which we’re expecting to be even bigger this year, LAU will honor Suad Juffali and Ray Irani for the service that each of them have given to their communities. Lots of hard work and preparations have gone in to making this event great and I’m very excited about how the gala will continue to help LAU increase its profile and support across the world.
Thank you all for the excellent work that you do for LAU and I look forward to more success as we move into spring.