AN INTRODUCTORY OVERVIEW.
Lebanon has been savaged by civil war and repeated Israeli attack for over fifteen devastating years. Practically everything has been disrupted or come to a standstill: social, political and economic life and – most important of all for the future – schools. In the midst of this chaos one of the few bright rays of hope is International College. This college continues to offer sound, non-sectarian education and to prepare the threatened youth of Lebanon and the Middle East to build the challenging new, more peaceful and better world which all yearn for – especially in embattled Lebanon. Hard pressed Lebanese value good education as never before. They and their children, their teachers and administrators daily take great risks, sometimes with their very lives, to seek and provide the kind of fine education available at International College.
International College began its ninety- ninth year in the fall of 1989 with a record number of three thousand one hundred and fifty students on its two campuses at Ain Aar in East and Ras Beirut in West Beirut, Lebanon. International College also welcomed a new President, Mr. Gerrit Keator, former Principal of the Pomfret School in Connecticut and Trustee of both Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts and of International College, currently based in the New York office of the Board of Trustees. He is ably assisted by Deputy President Edmond Tohme and all of his dedicated colleagues in Beirut. In this centennial year of International College, all concerned with this institution look forward to further progress and service. They also take pride and inspiration from the noteworthy achievements of the college constituency which have marked its remarkable career thus far.
Alumni with vision, creativity, fine character and dedication to public service who play a constructive role in the community, nation and world mark the success of any educational institution. International college is honored to number among its former students many distinguished men and more recently women who have made and are making noteworthy contributions to our ever more interdependent world. These include Prime Ministers, cabinet members, members of parliament, ambassadors to the United Nations, Council of Europe and many states representing International College’s two host countries of Turkey (from 1891-1934) and Lebanon (from 1936 onward) and of several neighboring Middle Eastern and North African nations. Students from International College have also gone on to become, inter alia, leading academics, business entrepreneurs, health and medical professionals, national and international civil servants, inventors, architects, agriculturalists, musicians, artists, engineers, scientists, philanthropists, writers, poets and specialists in many other professions. These members of the extended family of International College, fondly known as “IC,” live and work primarily in their Middle Eastern homelands. Some, however, pursue their careers abroad applying the lessons and extracurricular experiences learned at IC wherever they may be in this world. Today, there are literally IC alumni at work constructively on every continent except, as far as is known, in Antarctica.
International College has consistently pioneered in improving its academic programs. It has also been an innovator in athletics and extracurricular activities as indicated briefly below. From its origins in 1891 (in Izmir/Smyrna, Turkey and in the Prep in 1872 in Beirut) International College has consistently endeavored to combine the best available texts, scientific laboratory equipment and teachers from North America and Europe with able indigenous teachers of the languages and cultures of the then Ottoman Empire, notably Arabic, Armenian, Greek, and Turkish along with English and French as the two key languages of international diplomacy, knowledge and commerce. A special degree program in Commerce was introduced in 1896 to accommodate the many students preparing for business careers in the then cosmopolitan port city of Izmir (Smyrna) with a population of some three hundred fifty thousand people serving a fertile agricultural hinterland in Western Anatolia.
In accordance with its stated purpose of offering a Christian, non-sectarian education, the College required Bible study and regular attendance at non-denominational religious services of all students regardless of their faith. Armenian and Greek students organized religious and charitable clubs with their faulty mentors which assisted local poor people and raised modest funds to aid indigent students in India. They were perhaps inspired to do so by one or two of their early teachers of English who came out from Cambridge University and were doubtless aware of their famed fellow alumnus C.F. Andrews, who dedicated himself to India and was later a close associate of Gandhi. The first of these Englishmen to teach at the school in Smyrna was Mr. Turnly who arrived in January, 1892.
International College has ever since continued to stress social service, athletics and other worthwhile extracurricular activities as vital adjuncts to its formal curriculum. The college established the first private meteorological observatory in Smyrna in 1903. This provided such accurate time that the local Ottoman authorities, railways and by 1910 even visiting British Royal Navy ships were advised by the Admiralty to set their chronometers by the daily noon signal from the tower of International College. It also established the first Boy Scout Patrols in Turkey in 1913, an agricultural program in 1918, built a Settlement House and staffed it with an American Social worker, Miss Sara Snell, a Wellesley College graduate, in 1921. Students in sociology and related fields engaged in practical field work among poor villagers nearby and for a time aided war orphans housed there for some months. IC organized a literacy program in 1928-29 which taught over 70 uneducated Turk the new, Latin alphabet introduced then. That same year the College set up a Research Institute on the History and Culture of Turkey with an impressive roster of International specialists and selected publications. In the early 1930s, I.C introduced special courses in auto repairs, mechanics, iron work, carpentry, printing and additional courses for its degree program in agricultural for both its own students and more intensive ones for others on an extension basis.
This kind of pioneering educational and social service activity was carried on by the reconstituted International College after it was transferred to Beirut in 1936. The College regained its international character by enrolling a student body of 901 ( more than double its previous enrollment record of 411 in 1913-14 in Turkey) drawn from 37 countries. In subsequent years, IC teachers took the lead in preparing textbooks for the newly independent Lebanon’s schools which were primarily private and unregulated from 1946 until 1956 when they had to conform to national standards. IC staff took the lead in organizing the Secondary Schools’ Association of Lebanon in the 1950’s. They also assisted the Ministry of Education in planning school curricula and setting academic standards. IC graduates consistently excelled in the Lebanese national baccalaureate examinations. They usually had a 70 to 90% success rate compared to the roughly 30% success rate of their closest competitors and the national average of between 10 and 20% success. IC also developed and applied the student- centered approach to learning adapted from British models in the 1960’s. Toward the end of that decade, IC introduced the Freinet method of instruction in French. In the late 1960’s and 1970’s IC developed an Educational Resources Center which has since provided consultation, assessment, professional workshops for teachers, research, and a variety of other professional services to over forty schools in variety of other professional services to over forty schools in Lebanon, the Gulf, and many other Arab countries. It also provided comparable services to the Lebanese Community School in Lagos, Nigeria after 1967.
From the summer of 1937 onward, IC conducted student welfare camps for villagers in various parts of Lebanon, and social services for the poor in the Beirut area. It also developed a farm management program to encourage the sons of landowners to manage their properties more efficiently. In Beirut IC continued the strong sports, service and other extracurricular traditions established early in the College’s career in Turkey as well as in its initial Lebanese constituent elements, the Prep or Preparatory section, established in 1872 by its parent institution, the Syrian Protestant College, (renamed the American University of Beirut, often referred to simply as the AUB, in 1920), the Primary or Elementary School, which began in 1913 and was reorganized in 1925-26, and the French language Section Secondaire, established in 1926, during the French mandate.
Throughout its history, International College has been well-served by an unusually able and dedicated succession of inspiring teachers and leaders. It has also been aided by a generous and hard-working series of trustees representing the finest tradition of enlightened philanthropy in East and West. One need only mention individuals such as Caleb Lawrence, Albert Soylaz, James L. Barton, Mehmet Ali Yegenoglu, Cass Arthur Reed, Mustafa Rahmi.
FROM THE FOUNDING OF IC IN TURKEY TO ITS TRANSFER TO LEBANON;
1891-1936 in Summary
Alexander MacLachlan founded the American Boys School in Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey in 1891. MacLachlan was the Founder-President of what became the International College for thirty-five years, until his retirement in 1926. He then continued to serve actively on its Board of Trustees until his death at almost eighty-two years of age in 1940. His wife, Rose Hooper Blackler MacLachlan, was his strong inspiration and support, serving as matron, nurse, hostess, tutor and occasional musician and librarian for many years. She nearly died during a cholera epidemic in the winter of 1892-93, but survived her husband until 1954. Their daughter and three younger sons were born during the first dozen years of the life of the growing school, the girl some two months after it began on October 1, 1891. International College was Alexander MacLachlan’s main life work, but he also was a co-founder of two other institutions, Tarsus College in 1887-1888 and Athens College in 1923-1925, both of which also serve as important constituencies in their respective regions. This new institution in Smyrna flourished and opened its second year on October 2, 1892 as the American High School for Boys which was its name until 1896. The first High School class of five (four Armenians and an Englishman) graduated in 1895. In the fall of 1896, the school adopted the name of The American Collegiate Institute for Boys when it began its first college level freshman class. This Collegiate Institute graduated its first class of ten students in 1898 and by 1902 there were forty-three graduates. The institute’s graduates did so well in their advanced studies that, by the turn of the century, they were admitted without examination to leading European and U.S. institutions such as the University of Geneva, the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In the fall of 1902, nine members of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the official proprietors and overseers of this Institute, based in Boston, applied on its behalf to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a charter of incorporation as “The Trustees of International College of Smyrna, Turkey.” This formal charter was issued on April 8, 1903, thereby officially authorizing what was already in fact a new College serving the youth of Western Asia Minor, the Aegean basin and other parts of the widespread, but shrinking Ottoman Empire then ruled by Sultan Abdul Hamid II (r. 1876-1909.)
International College continued to function (with just one hiatus of four months in 1922-23, after the reoccupation of Smyrna by the nationalist Turks on September 9, 1922) throughout the Italian war against the Ottoman Empire in Libya (Tripolitania) in 1911, the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, the First World War, Allied occupation, The Greco- Turkish war to liberate Anatolia for the Turkish nationalists, 1919-1922, and the emergence of the dynamic new Turkish republic after the signing of the Lausanne Treaty in 1923. It continued in Izmir through the academic year ending in June, 1934, when the faculty, administration and trustees decided to close the college, at least temporarily, because of strong nationalist protests against it as foreign institution, serious interference with academic freedom and a belief that the college’s staff and resources might be more effectively employed under more favorable circumstances after some cooling off period either there or in a neighboring country.
After intensive study by the trustees in consultation with the President, faculty and others, it was reluctantly decided to transfer the functions, library, archives and some of the longer- term staff to Beirut, Lebanon and to continue International College, primarily as a secondary level institution preparing students for the French and Lebanese baccalaureate and completion of the sophomore year’s program for the American University of Beirut. International College was to operate in affiliation with The American University of Beirut (AUB) for a five year trial period under the terms of agreement reached between the trustees of the two institutions in 1936.
International College formally opened its first academic year in Beirut in the fall of 1936 and has continued to function there with increasing usefulness and success to the present, despite the disruption and devastations of World War II, the Arab— Israeli conflict and the civil war which has torn Lebanon apart since 1975.
A LOOK AHEAD
International College looks forward with confidence to its centennial year in 1990-1991 and to continued service to the youth of the Middle East. The College is proud of its pioneering contributions to the education of youth of integrity an strong character. It is indebted to its dedicated faculty, staff, trustees, distinguished former students and alumni, their families, its generous supporters, and its series of able Presidents or Principals. IC honors their ability to adapt the best of the great heritages of the East and West which they combine as creatively as possible for the common good. Those who are today responsible for International College welcome the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead. They call on the entire extended family of the college and all who seek enlightened peace and justice in our troubled world to join in supporting this pioneering yet proven institution as it begins a second century of service. The College’s growing potential for service depends on the continued enlightened help of its alumni and the entire IC constituency. This brief history seeks to inform you about its remarkable growth and to give you a clearer idea of its condition today so that you can help to guarantee and chart its challenging future.
THE CEDAR OF LEBANON SYMBOL
International College evokes many memories and images in each of us who has been associated with this institution or those who have been a part of its century—long career to date. The image of one of the superb cedars of Lebanon is an apt one to suggest some of IC’s history and its extended family constituency. The roots of this beautiful tree extend deep into the rich soil and history of the Middle East, particularly of Turkey and Lebanon, both important parts of the great Ottoman Empire extending over large areas of three continents for centuries before its collapse in 1922. These same healthy roots tap life—giving water and nutrients which combine good, true and sacred insights derived from the monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, more secular values stemming from the Greeks and Romans or those of the Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, Arab awakening, modern humanism, nationalism and global interdependence as well as from the fabled hospitality of Middle Easterners and the inherent goodness in each person.
We can think of the larger roots of this shady cedar tree as representing the two geographic homelands of IC in Turkey from 1891 to 1934 and in Lebanon from 1936 to the present. We need to remember that the main Lebanese root reaches back to 1872 when the Prep was founded by the Syrian Protestant College as a feeder for its own college level classes, and that younger roots represent the Primary School, reconstituted in 1925-26 after it took over the Ras Beirut elementary school started in 1920, and the Section Secondaire, established in 1926 to provide secondary level instruction in French for future AUB students.
Next, we can think of the great trunk of this cedar of Lebanon as representing the heritage of knowledge, experience, dedication and philanthropy which has animated generations of donors, teachers, other staff members, administrators and trustees in their continuing efforts to build IC into a better institution. Their goal has always been to inspire its students to learn, to develop their own capacity to think independently, to seek the truth, serve humanity and to become all that they can be. The branches of this venerable tree represent the strong faith in education and high hopes in their cherished children of some six thousand parents of IC students through the years. Finally, the fluttering leaves crowning this magnificent cedar of Lebanon represent over twelve thousand living alumni and alumnae of International College serving humanity throughout the Middle East and in many other parts of the world. They flourish each year, then re-emerge every spring, like each graduating class, rejuvenated for continuing growth, learning and satisfaction through service to their respective communities.
International College’s global family and others interested in the evolution of cross-cultural and international education at the primary, secondary and collegiate levels may be interested in
learning more about the history of International College continued in summary form below, focusing on the terms of respective Presidents or Principals of this institution.
THE FRESEDENCY OF ALEXNDER MACLACHLAN 1891- 1926
The administration of IC’s founding President, Dr. Alexander MacLachlan from 1891 to his retirement in 1926 spans thirty-five of the forty years he devoted to serving the youth of the late Ottoman Empire and nascent Republic of Turkey. They cover just over a third of IC’s life to date. MacLachlan had grown up on a farm some forty miles north of Toronto, Ontario,Canada which his Scottish father and family had homesteaded as immigrants from Scotland in 1819-1821. He was a practical man who graduated from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1884 and then from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1887. There he was a friend and classmate of Howard S. Bliss, later President of the Syrian Protestant College from 1902-20.
MacLachlan’s presidency of International College falls into three main periods, each of roughly a decade. The first, from 1891- 1903, was one of the birth and quite rapid growth of this new institution. The school began with its founder-Principal Alexander MacLachlan, three experienced Armenian teachers and 34 students initially enrolled. All of the pupils, except for one Muslim pretending to be an Armenian, were at first Armenians. By the middle of that first year, 1891-92, there were 58 students and a total of seven teachers, including part-time instructors in French, Gymnastics and Turkish. This school began in a large rented house and grounds on Chai, or Meles street, near the Basmahane railway station in downtown Smyrna.
Two major gifts in 1892 from Mr. Takvor Spartali, the Armenian businessman who owned the property and an initially anonymous one from a member of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, based in Boston, enabled MacLachlan to buy the first home of IC. He learned later that the larger gift of some ten thousand dollars came from Mr. Joseph S. Ropes, the blind oldest member of the Prudential Committee who had been one of the six charter trustees of the Syrian Protestant College from 1863-73. Ropes had also been a Harvard class of 1846 friend of Francis Chipman Blackler, the father of Mrs. Alexander MacLachlan. Aside from a handful of relatively modest gifts, the college grew, acquired additional property to accommodate its rapidly expanding student body, and improved its laboratory, library and athletic facilities entirely from internally generated funds from board and tuition fees throughout its first twenty years while at the same time providing substantial scholarship support to worthy students. The American Board paid President MacLachlan’s spartan missionary salary and later those of a few additional long term appointees, notably Cass Arthur Reed, who began in 1912 as a teacher of English, Mathematics and Philosophy, became Dean in 1914 and IC’s second president in 1926.
By 1893 there were one hundred students enrolled with some Greeks, a few Muslim Turks and Europeans in attendance and by 1901 there were 234 students. The school’s first official permit was granted by the Ottoman authorities in 1892 and they issued revised charters to International College in 1907, four years after it first U .S. charter had been granted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1903, and again in 1914, shortly after the college had moved to its enlarged suburban campus at Paradise, about three miles east of its original buildings. Thus, by 1903, the college’s first phase of growth under President MacLachlan closed with the institution firmly established on its own downtown campus and buttressed by official recognition from both the host Ottoman government and that of the State of Massachusetts, informal acceptance of its degrees and graduates by leading European and U.S. universities, an enhanced reputation and growing, cosmopolitan clientele.
The second stage of MacLachlan’s presidency from 1903-1913 was marked by steady consolidation of the academic program with attendant faculty reinforcement and improvement and a slower rate of growth in the student body, which reached 305 in 1904 and fluctuated up to 399 by the end of this period. After 1904, Greeks outnumbered Armenians and increasing numbers of Turks began to attend. Remzi Sherif (later Reyent) was the first Muslim Turkish B.A graduate in 1907. He later became a leading citizen and businessman of Izmir (Smyrna) and a member of the local Board of Managers of International College. The library held over 4500 volumes by 1907.
In 1908 the Young Turk Revolution restored the 1876 Ottoman Constitution. Thereafter, Muslims were no longer forbidden to attend foreign or Christian schools. Increasing numbers of Turkish students, some from leading families, enrolled in IC after 1908 and by 1913-14 they numbered about one hundred, or roughly a quarter of the record enrollment of 411 that year.
The MacLachlans were on furlough in North America during 1910-11 when remarkably generous gifts of over $140,000., primarily from the estate of New York businessman and Christian philanthropist John Stewart Kennedy, former chairman of the Board of Trustees of Robert College, Istanbul, and his wife Emma Baker Kennedy (no kin of later President John Fitzgerald Kennedy) enabled IC to implement long-cherished plans of moving o a larger, suburban campus of some twenty acres with buildings and facilities admirably suited to accommodate an anticipated ideal student body of some five hundred. This impressive new campus was built under Dr. MacLachlan’s supervision between 1911 and 1913 when it began to be used. It included three major buildings, the original MacLachlan Hall, which was the main administration, classroom and dormitory structure of four storeys with a 75 foot clocktower; a large assembly hall, chapel and library building seating 1200 with student club rooms and a faculty apartment; and a spacious gymnasium( long the largest in Turkey), banked, indoor running track, rooms for gymnastics and wrestling, showers, carpentry, printing, electrical and mechanical workshops, an electric power and heating plant, plus additional student activity rooms and an apartment for a resident physical education teacher. There were also a President’s house, six other staff residences, an infirmary, two gatehouses and various ancilliary facilities and structures built. This new campus, formally inaugurated on January 15, 1914 served IC effectively until the summer of 1934 when the college closed in Turkey prior to its transfer to Beirut in 1936.
The third and final phase of MacLachlan’s presidency extended from the promising new opportunities afforded by the move to the new campus at Paradise in 1913-14 through the traumas of the First or Great World War of 1914-18; the troubles o-f the period of the Greek occupation of Izmir and much of western Anatolia from May 15, 1919 to September 9, 1922, when the city was liberated by the nationalist Turks led by Mustafa Kemal; the burning of Smyrna on September 13, 1922 and evacuation of some 240,000 mainly Greek and Armenian residents during the following days; to the restoration of peace by the Lausanne Treaty of July, 1923; the proclamation of the Turkish Republic on October 29, 1923 and adaptation to the new Turkish nationalist regime from 1923-26 when Dr. and Mrs. MacLachlan retired to their new home in Kingston, Canada.
In 1912 the College’s first Student Activities Director, professor of Religion and Chaplain, Mr. S. Ralph Harlow, and in 1913 Mr. John Kingsley Birge, the first American Professor of Turkish, were appointed. Harlow introduced the first four Boy Scout patrols in Turley. Ali Adnan, one of these early IC scouts was Prime Minister of Turkey as Adnan Menderes from 1950—60. When the Ottoman Empire entered the Great War as Germany’s ally, Rahmi Bey, the Young Turk Governor of Izmir province, did not intern his trusted friend Alexander MacLachlan, who as a Canadian was an enemy alien. MacLachlan wisely invested all available funds in gold which, along with a few generous gifts from Mrs. Kennedy, Cleveland H. Dodge and others enabled the college to survive increased costs, inflation and sharply reduced income from tuition during the war years. Enrollments dropped from 411 in 1913 to 187 in 1914, 215 for each of the next two years, then 117 in 1917 and 139 in 1918. The first agricultural program was initiated in 1918, a college settlement house was completed in 1921 to serve over a thousand poor villagers and relief work by students and faculty cooperating with a committee headed by the Mufti continued throughout the war. The College’s former city campus was loaned to the Turkish authorities and used as a hospital and refugee relief center. For three months in the summer of 1918, the IC campus and staff welcomed same 2000 wounded and disabled Allied prisoners of war awaiting exchange and repatriation. The author A.A. Milne was one of these POW’s.
The Greek occupation of Smyrna and western Anatolia between May 15, 1919 and September 9, 1922 meant that IC had to adapt its curriculum and programs accordingly and that the student body became primarily Greek speaking. After the liberation of the city on September 9, 1922 and subsequent disastrous fire, most of the remaining staff were almost swamped with emergency relief work directed by Professor Caleb W. Lawrence who chaired a broadly-based committee. For about three hours on September 10, 1922, the college campus, crowded with between 1500 and 2000 refugees, was a dangerous no-man’s land between retreating Greek forces engaged in a battle and artillery duel with the victorious Turkish nationalist troops which had just retaken Izmir. Dr. MacLachlan was severely beaten and nearly killed by irregular “chette” brigands looting the college settlement house the next day. He had to be evacuated to Malta, then Greece where he convalesced for the next year. While there he and Dr. Reed helped to plan for the future Athens College.
IC had to suspend classes for the autumn term of 1922 and reopened with only 26 students, soon increased to 109, virtually all Turkish, in January 1923. Once again, the college revised its curriculum to adapt to the new situation and the requirements of the Turkish Republic’s Ministry of National Education. This involved much closer supervision of the college’s programs by the provincial Director of Education who appointed Turkish teachers of Turkish history, civics, geography and language to teach these now mandatory subjects without prior consultation with the college’s administrative or teaching staff. Enrollments grew back to 130 for 1923, 237 for 1924, and 271 f or 1925-26, MacLaclan’s final year as President. Relations with the new republican government were normalized in 1925 when IC became the first foreign institution to receive formal certification from the Ministry of Education. The Governor gave a farewell reception as a token of his appreciation for the MacLachlan’s thirty five years of devoted service to educate the youth of Turkey in the Izmir region. After his retirement in 1926, Dr. MacLachlan served as an active trustee of IC, chairing the nominating and agricultural committees of the Board f or many years until his death in 1940.
IC UNDER ITS SECOND PRESIDENT: CASS ARTHUR REED, 1926-1936
Dr. Cass Arthur Reed was IC’s second President, serving from 1926 until his resignation in 1936 when the College moved to Beirut. Reed grew up on his father’s orange ranch near Whittier, California and graduated from Pomona College in 1906. He then taught for two years in Yamaguchi High School, Sendai, Japan before earning a B.D. degree at Union Theological Seminary, where he first met Dr. MacLachlan in 1911. Reed was appointed to teach at IC in 1911, but first earned an M.A. degree in Education at Harvard, so arrived in Izmir in September, 1912. Reed became Dean in 1914, served throughout the Great War and earned his doctorate at Harvard while on furlough in 1920-21. He married Rosalind MacLachlan in 1916.
His administration continued the policy established under MacLachlan of close cooperation with the Turkish educational authorities. This meant that much of the curriculum had to conform to standards set externally by the Ministry of National Education. Efforts to enrich academic offerings in areas not specified by Turkish law included the initiation of an Institute of Turkish Studies to foster research on Turkey in 1920. In 1929, the agricultural program was revised and a degree program in the subject was introduced. Vedat Cilliv earned the first degree in agriculture in 1932. The roughly 50 acre college farm, bought in 1923-24, was placed under Mr. Raymond White, an agronomist from Kansas, who organized more intensive cultivation of cereals, fruit orchards, the importation of flocks of Leghorn and Rhode Island Red chickens and a Holstein bull which was cross-bred with local cows. Gifts of chickens, special seeds, a Holstein heifer and some agricultural publications were also donated to the Presidential Farm outside Ankara set up by President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. In 1930, the College cooperated with the Near East Foundation in agricultural education and extension work in the region directed by Mr. H. Allee.
IC staff and students also taught seventy-four illiterates to read and write in the new Turkish latinized alphabet introduced in 1928. Non-credit courses for younger farmers in the winter and programs for college students and young worker apprentices in carpentry, printing, the use of a power lathe and iron working machinery, plus auto mechanics and repair were instituted and proved useful to both students and outside workers or those seeking employment. Tahsin Cafer (Oztin) of the class of 1934 got fascinated with printing taught by Pomona graduate Perry Avery at IC. He took up journalism, became a leading reporter who covered the coronation of and interviewed Queen Elizabeth II, and is now a senior editor of Hurriyet (Freedom), Turkey’s largest circulation newspaper with editions published in Australia, Europe and North America. IC soccer teams often won the city league championship and others did well in basketball and volleyball. Sports and extracurricular activities were also expanded to include archery, boat-building, dramatics, gardening and volunteer literacy and social welfare service in a few nearby villages. Students, advised by some teachers, also produced four periodicals and organized two new groups, the Turkish Culture Society and the English Speaking Club.
President Reed reinforced both the core faculty and shorter term staff considerably. Four longer term American staff members and their wives joined the faculty. These were Harrison and Mary Maynard, who had taught earlier in Bitlis and elsewhere in Eastern Turkey, Lee and Helen Vrooman, Donald and Mabel Webster and Raymond and Fern White. Maynard was on outstanding teacher of English who later taught at IC in Beirut, Vrooman served as Dean until 1934, Webster as professor of social sciences and White as Farm Manager. The Websters devoted many years of distinguished service to Turkey and also served in Iran. Webster wrote the classic The Turkey of Ataturk, published in 1938, became the first U.S. Cultural Attache in Ankara in 1943 and was instrumental in aiding American educational enterprises in Turkey and initiating the Fulbright program there. The Websters returned in the 1960s to teach at the American Girls’ School in Uskudar, Istanbul. Webster also wrote a book on Kemalism as Civil Religion in the 1970s and was twice invited to Turkey to lecture at conferences on Ataturk in the 1980s. He has been made a Corresponding member of the Turkish Historical Society and keeps keenly interested in Turkey.
Dr. Reed also initiated the Pomona in Smyrna program which for a decade sent top graduates of Pomona College, California to teach at IC for three year terms. They were joined by other recent college graduates such as Kenneth Kirkwood, Toronto, ‘24 poet and later Canadian Ambassador to Egypt and Japan, S. Barnitz Williams, Princeton ‘25 or J. Calvin Keene, Lebanon Valley, 1930. Other younger teachers, including Harold Disbrowe, and agronomist from London, Ontario, and a bursar were also recruited from Canada, England and Switzerland. The first Turkish graduate of IC taught there on a long term basis was Mehmet Ali Yegenoglu, ‘21, who returned from graduate studies in agriculture in Massachusetts to teach, direct the farm program and eventually chair the Disciplinary Committee.
These activities and the reorientation of the institution to serve an almost totally Turkish student body were in part made practicable financially by IC’s joining the New York based Near East College Association in 1926. By 1929-30, under the leadership of Mr. Albert W. Staub, fifteen million dollars had been raised, of which IC’s share came to just over one million. This, plus a generous bequest from the estate of Mrs. Emma B. Kennedy, IC’s long-time benefactress who died in 1930, provided the college with its first substantial endowment of about $1,100,000.
The Depression unfortunately reduced income from this new endowment at about the same time that student enrollment declined sharply from a post-world war I high of 307 in 1930 to 228 in 1932 and only 132 in 19C3-34, the final year of operation in Turkey. This produced a grave financial crisis for IC which was compounded by growing Turkish nationalism reflected in suspicion of foreign schools, Mussolini’s expansionist threats in the Mediterranean region and later subjugation of Ethiopia and growing student militancy resulting in strikes, demonstrations and the spread of false, derogatory rumors about the alleged inadequacies of some college staff members through irresponsible or chauvinistic press reports. Members of the Turkish staff were divided between a few ardent nationalists and more moderate colleagues. These factors combined to persuade the faculty and administration, the local Board of Managers and President Reed to recommend that the Trustees authorize the temporary closing of the college at least for a year or two while deliberate and intensive investigation of how best to continue to fulfill the aims of IC either in Turkey or elsewhere could be undertaken. This fateful decision was announced early in 1934 and the college ceased academic operations in Turkey at the end of that summer.
Its fine campus and farm properties were sold to the Turkish government for a modest sum. The facilities were used to train former non-commissioned Turkish army officers as rural school teachers until 1940, when this former IC campus became one of an emerging network of some twenty Village Institutes organized by a far-sighted educator, Ismail Hakki Tonguc who had the backing of Hasan Ali Yucel, the innovative Minister of Education. These Village Institutes trained over twenty thousand young villagers who had completed elementary school in an intensive practical and theoretical program who then returned to teach in many of Turkey’s forty thousand villages. Mahmut Makal, one of these graduates, wrote a stark account of his teaching experiences in a village in central Anatolia in the late 1940s. It was entitled, Our Village (Bizim Koy), became an immediate best seller and was translated into English and several other languages. This book had some impact on Turkey’s landmark 1950 election which resulted in the peaceful transfer of power from the long dominant ruling People’s Republican Party led by President Ismet Inonu to the Democrat party led by the new President, Celal Bayar and Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, a former IC student. The dynamic Village Institute program ended in 1954, so the former IC campus became the headquarters of the Sixth Allied NATO Tactical Air Command with an international staff which was still using this campus in 1990.
AN ASSESSMENT OF IC IN TURKEY, 1891 – 1934
During IC’s forty-three years in Izmir it wholly or partially trained more than six thousand young men for the commercial and professional life of Turkey and other countries. The careers of some former International College students in Turkey illustrate in concrete human terms some of the unlimited potentials of these and many other students which were nurtured by their college experience. George Mylonas, B.A.,1919, won international recognition for his archaeological discoveries at Eleusis and Mycenae. He was long a distinguished professor at Washington University. St. Louis, professor at Athens University by Royal appointment and chairman of the International Commission on the Restoration of the Acropolis at Athens. Nejat Ferit Eczacibasi was at IC in the first years of the Turkish Republic. He remembers being introduced to radio, classical western music and the special outdoor assembly called to announce Lindbergh’s epic solo, non-stop trans-Atlantic flight on May 21, 1927. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Berlin, then founded the pharmaceutical firm which bears his name and became the largest between Rome and Tokyo. Dr. Eczacibasi is also the founder—-chairman of the Istanbul Arts and Culture Foundation and of its annual international music festival since 1973 (inspired in part by Mrs. Rosalind Reed) and of its Izmir counterpart established in 1987. He is also an expert equestrian, leading philanthropist and globally prominent businessman.
His contemporary, Orhan Eralp, says that he learned Anglo—-Saxon ways of thought, discipline, attitudes, skills and sports at IC. He also mastered excellent English and French, later earned doctorates in law and philosophy and served as Ambassador in London, Paris and at the United Nations. He is now on the board of the SISAV Foundation and as a former golf and tennis champion continues to excel in both sports. The late Fadil Hakki Sur became Dean of the Law Faculty at Ankara University, then Ambassador to the Council of Europe at Strasbourg. Mutahar Serif Basoglu, President of the class of 1930, became Director of Prisons in Turkey in his early thirties. He introduced so-called “Open Prison” policies. These proved so effective that prisoners in Erzincan, providentially freed by the collapse of prison walls after a severe earthquake, took the initiative in relief work then returned to their partially ruined prison rather than escaping. Basoglu was later an unusually effective mayor of Odemis and established a Turkish Handicrafts Museum there.
Haydar Sabri Asan and Cihat Renda were champion athletes IC. The first twice won the high jump at theBalkan Games. The second frequently represented Turkey in international soccer competition. Both became leading entrepreneurs. Mithat Aktuna served as a Director of the Central Bank and is now a major honey distributor. Necati Dolunay rose to be Director of the famed Istanbul Archeological Museum. Enver Dundar Basar was the first of two IC graduates elected mayor of Izmir, where Macit Birsel is one of several top notch lawyers and Muhittin Alam a professor of law at Ege (Aegean) University who has been given the keys to New Orleans and Philadelphia for his services. Alam and Hilmi Keresteci both also operate major hotels in Izmir. Dr. Feridun Muhtar Bilginer is one of several able physicians who studied at IC who still minister to the Izmir community. Ali Emin Nazilli Giray and a number of other IC graduates served in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Falih Nazmi Darmara, ‘32, excelled in science and was nicknamed “Lavoisier.” He became an inventor and entrepreneur who patented a number of high tensile, heat-resistant alloys which he manufactured and sold for use in turbines to General Electric, United Technologies, both of whom are active in Turkey, and to other companies in the U.S. and abroad.
A few students who had not been able to complete their degree program at IC before it closed in Izmir in 1934 received scholarship help from the college and graduated from Robert College. Two deserve special mention. Danis Haul Unsal rose to become a director of the Borusan Holding conglomerate. His friend, Selahettin Seyfi Erenturk, an agriculturalist and poet, became Manager of Mobil Oil Co. operations in southern Turkey and an executive of a major educational foundation.
International College also contributed significantly to athletics and certain technical fields in Turkey. In 1893 IC pioneered the first interscholastic athletics field day in the Ottoman Empire. This attracted a large crowd of some three to four thousand spectators and contestants from several schools. IC students won most of the prizes. This success resulted in the organization of the Smyrna Schools Athletic Association in 1893, and the broader Pan Ionian League in 1894, a useful prelude to the first modern Olympic games at Athens in 1896. IC also introduced school soccer at the same time and basketball shortly after its invention in 1896. In 1903 IC installed the first electric lightning plant in the Ottoman Empire and set up a meteorological station which was widely used. In 1924 the first private radio apparatus in Turkey was set up at the College.
IC’s MOVE TO BEIRUT IN 1936
Pursuant to the decision reached early in 1934, short term staff appointments were terminated and arrangements were made for longer term staff to be employed elsewhere, or be released after a year’s paid leave. President Bayard Dodge of the AUB arranged for President Reed to be a visiting Professor of Religion in 1934-35 and shorter term IC teachers Sterling McGrath and Donald Webster temporarily taught courses in the social sciences normally taught by AUB professors S.C. Dodd and Laurens Seelye, both on leave in the U.S. President and Mrs. Reed spent the 1935-36 academic year on leave, largely in New York where Dr. Reed worked closely with the trustees considering longer range options and dealing with shorter term adjustments durig this difficult transition period.
Finally, in the spring of 1936, the trustees of IC decided that it should move to Beirut in affiliation with the AUB, but retain its own identity, endowment and separate Board. Part of the agreement with the AUB involved the election of three members of the IC Board of Trustees to that of the AUB during the initial five year trial period of affiliation. In 1940, the IC Board voted to continue the relationship indefinitely. President Reed accepted a position as Minister of Pilgrim Congregational Church, Pomona, California, effective in September, 1936, when his friend Dr. Bayard Dodge became President of International College in addition to his Presidency of the AUB. Dodge appointed his colleague Mr. Archie S. Crawford as the first Principal of IC in Beirut responsible for its administration under the aegis of President Dodge.
Dr. and Mrs. Reed served with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, primarily in Greece, from 1944-47, when he returned to ministerial and teaching posts in California. where he died in 1949. Mrs. Reed taught French at Scripps College for some years and maintained her remarkable talents as a pianist and organist into her old age. She was delighted to take part in the dedication of MacLachlan Hall and the impressive new IC campus at Mechref with her youngest brother the late Ian MacLachlan (a former IC student, as were his two Reed nephews) and his wife Sybil, of Kingston, Canada, her trustee elder son, Dr. A. Lachlan Reed and his wife, Martha, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, her younger son, Professor Howard A. Reed (named after Howard S. Bliss), of the University of Connecticut, Storrs, President Suleiman Frangieh, Prime Minister Saeb Salam, IC ‘22 and eight members of his cabinet, five of whom were also IC graduates, and many other dignitaries in October, 1971 in her eightieth year. She died in California in 1978.
IC was nominally led by successive Presidents of the AUB from 1936 until 1960. These were, Bayard Dodge until 1948, Stephen B. L. Penrose, Jr. until his early death in 1955, then Acting President Professor Constantine Zurayk and finally President J. Paul Leonard, inaugurated in July, 1957. In practice, Principals appointed by these Presidents of the AUB (who were also concurrently designated Presidents of IC by its Board of Trustees) were in charge of the administration of IC during this period. An independent President of IC was again made responsible for its direction from 1960 to the present. The actual leaders of the college during its first fourteen years in Beirut, Archibald S. Crawford, Principal from 1936 until late 1945 and then Leslie W. Leavitt, Acting Principal and then Principal of IC from 1946-47 until he retired in 1960, were both appointed by Bayard Dodge who was President of the AUB from 1923 until his retirement in 1948. From 1936 until 1948 Dodge served concurrently as President of IC.
IC’s FIRST DECADE IN BEIRUT UNDER PRINCIPAL CRAWFORD: 1936-45.
Mr. Archie S. Crawford became Principal of International College in 1936 and left in November, 1945 to become the first Principal of Damascus College. He was born in Lebanon into a family long active in education, was a graduate of Beloit College who later earned an M.A degree and had taught or served in administrative posts at the AUB since 1921. Fluent in Arabic and French he was unusually well qualified for his new duties. The three directors of the previously separate AUB units now combined as International College reported to him. These were Leslie W. Leavitt, who continued as head of the Preparatory Section, the work of which was given in English; M. Robert Widmer remained Director of the Section Secondaire, or French division; and Professor George D. Shahla, AUB’23, was put in charge of the Elementary School, or Primary, while continuing as adjunct professor of Education at the AUB.
IC regained and greatly expanded its cosmopolitan character in Beirut. Enrollment of 901 students in its first year in Lebanon was 89 more than that in the AUB Prep in 1935-36, over double the previous IC 1913-14 record of 411 and about triple the 307 scholars in 1931 in Izmir. This initial 1936-37 student body of IC in Lebanon represented 37 nationalities and 16 religious groups. The faculty was also international with teachers from ten countries and ten different religious affiliations, although the great majority were Lebanese and Syrian. By 1939 IC had also taken over instruction for the entire Sophomore class of the AUB thus becoming a full junior college in both the English and French sections. The Freshman-Sophomore class, which became known as the “Intermediate Section,” was housed as a unit in Bliss an Fisk Halls by the hockey field on the main AUB campus and had its own special group of teachers.
IC also inherited the fine Prep campus with Rockefeller, Sage and Thompson Halls, the Refectory and Martin House, the Principal’s residence, located across a lane from the main AUB campus at its western end. It is worth noting that this campus was built mainly between 1911 and 1913, during Howard Bliss’ presidency, primarily thanks to gifts from Mrs. Russell Sage, Mrs. Martin of Vermont and Mr. John D. Rockefeller at the same time that the new IC campus was being constructed at Paradise, outside Izmir, Turkey by Bliss’ friend President Alexander MacLachlan.
This campus was built because of a felt need to separate younger boys in the Prep From older Prep and College students at what was then the Syrian Protestant College and became the AUB in 1920.
Three senior professors from the IC faculty in Turkey also came to Beirut where they assisted with the transition after 1936 and taught until their respective retirements some fifteen years later. These were William Fowler, in natural sciences, Harrison A. Maynard, English, and Albert Seylaz, French literature.
By 1940, after war had erupted in Europe, but before the June, 1941 take-over of Lebanon from Vichy French control by combined British and Free French forces, IC’s enrollment had grown to 1,272.
The years of the second world war, 1939-45, once again exerted strains on IC. Many expatriate teachers and even some Arab, such as Professor Habib Kurani, either had to return home, or else could not return to Beirut from advanced study or research abroad. Students from more distant lands such as Iran, Ethiopia, Bahrein or Saudi Arabia could not get to Lebanon, while textbooks, laboratory supplies and funds ware all much harder to obtain. IC survived reasonably well and returning staff, reinforced by new recruits, including M. Maurice Dumont, who arrived in 1945, coupled with Lebanese independence and the return of peace provided fresh grounds for hopeful progress.
The newly independent Syrian government asked President Dodge and the AUE to help them to start a new secondary and collegiate level institution which might improve educational opportunities in their country and lay part of the groundwork for a proposed Syrian National University. In response to this request, Principal Crawford was assigned to organize the new Damascus College in 1945 and Mr. Leslie W. Leavitt became first Acting Principal and later Principal of IC until his retirement in 1960.
PRINCIPAL LESLIE LEAVITT AT THE HELM OF IC – 1946 – 1960
Leslie Leavitt graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in 1916 arid volunteered to teach English at the Prep for three years. Wartime travel difficulties delayed his arrival in Beirut until January, 1917. En route, he met Margaret, one of President Howard Bliss’ daughters, on Galata Bridge, Istanbul, who was also trying to reach Lebanon. Leavitt returned to the U.S. in 1919, earned an M.A. degree at Columbia and married Margaret Bliss in 1920. They then taught in Tripoli until 1928. Two of his students there were Charles Malik, later Lebanese Foreign Minister, President of the U.N. General Assembly, Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the AUB Graduate School and Dr. Afif Tannous, who later taught sociology at IC and became an expert on Middle East and arid lands agriculture who served for many years as a senior officer in the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In 1928, Leavitt rejoined the staff at the AUB Prep where he became Assistant Principal in 1934. He devoted forty-three years to teaching the youth of the Middle East. He continued his keen interest in his former students and the Middle cast after he retired in 1960 to his new home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. His book, With Youth on Phoenician Shores, was published in 1968. The Leavitts revisited Beirut for the Centennial of the Prep in 1972.
After World War II, IC rebuilt its faculty, improved its curriculum, established closer cooperative links with Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and led the way in organizing the Lebanese Secondary Schools Association and Lebanese interscholastic athletics. Principal Leavitt was invited to meet the young Shah of Iran, three of whose half-brothers attended IC briefly. He and Professor George Shahla later were guests of Crown Prince Saud of Saudi Arabia who later visited IC and sent growing numbers of students to the college as did Iraq, Bahrein, Kuwait, Iran, Ethiopia, Singapore, Indonesia and other countries. In 1949, Dr. J. Calvin Keene, a Fulbright Professor at the AUB from Howard University, a former IC staffite in Izmir, 1931-34, and his wife Elsa, who had taught at the American Girls School (ACI) in Izmir, 1922-1934, were in Beirut. Her IC students in history and geography included the Crown Prince of Zanzibar, his brother and a few of Lebanese origin from Latin America.
IC students and faculty were troubled by demonstrations resulting from the endemic Arab-Zionist conflict, the wars of 1948-49, 1956 and the Lebanese civil war in 1958. Thanks to its long
tradition of tolerance, mutual respect, and harmonious living in a multi-cultural and international community, wise non-partisan leadership by the administration, faculty, maturing student leaders and enlightened parent cooperation, IC avoided serious disruption or lose of class time during recurring crises which often resulted in the closing of other schools.
IC had operated since 1936 as a close adjunct of the AUB. The University grew substantially after World War II and in the 1950s added new graduate programs in Agriculture, Arabic Studies, Engineering, Education, Public Administration, biochemistry, chemistry and physics. These were accompanied by increased enrollments with urgent needs for additional space. This resulted in requests that IC move to some new campus so that the AUB might use that part of its Ras Beirut campus occupied by the Prep since 1913 and then by IC since 1936.
IC responded by obtaining separate certification from the Lebanese government in 1956 and its revitalized Board of Trustees agreed with the AUE Board to separate the two sister institutions formally in 1957. Land for a new IC campus at suburban Aramoun was purchased, plans for the erection of appropriate buildings there were made by the distinguished architect Edward Durrell Stone and a major drive for the needed funds began. The trustees also appointed a successor to Principal Leavitt who planned to retire in 1960. Ten of the trustees, led by chairman Dr. Daniel Bliss. visited Beirut for several days in the spring of 1959 and expressed great appreciation for what they saw and learned from students, parents, teachers, administrators and the Minister of Education. The trustees were also welcomed by Prime Minister Karami and President Helou.
They were accompanied by the new Principal, soon to be President-elect, Mr. Thomas C. Schuller, a Yale 1941 graduate, naval reserve officer in World War II and former Headmaster of the Scarborough School arid his wife Nancy, a Smith College graduate. This was the Schuller’s first visit to the Middle East where they were to live for the next sixteen years.
Leavitt’s retirement in June, 1960 marked the end of two era’s for IC. First, that of leadership by individuals who devoted most of their professional careers to educational service in the Middle East and knew the language and area well before assuming major administrative responsibilities along with continuing some teaching. Second, was the end of an era when IC operated as virtually a part of the AUB from roughly 1936 until the formal separation agreement of 1957 which began to be implemented more actively after 1980. Many students and even some junior faculty and staff members had tended to look up to Leslie and Margaret Leavitt, or earlier to Alexander and Rose MacLachlan, Cass and Rosalind Reed, and Bayard and Mary Dodge as father or mother figures, exemplars of simple, traditional teachers. President and Mrs. Schuller represented a somewhat different model which, for better or worse, students of the new world of the 1960s and beyond often perceived in new ways somewhat distinct from their predecessors.
THE FFESIDENCY OF THOMAS C. SCHULLER — 1960-76
Thomas C. Schuller. President of International College, 1960-76, returned to Beirut in late 1959 to spend six months in learning about Lebanon, the Middle East, IC and its administration from Principal Leavitt and their colleagues. He and Mrs. Schuller studied Arabic and French. He took charge of IC as Principal on Leslie Leavitts retirement in June, 1960 and was formally inaugurated as the new President of IC in May, 1961.
Schuller focused on three main issues especially in the early year of his presidency. First, to foster continuing improvement in academic standards at all levels; second, to accelerate the trend toward establishing a distinct IC identity separate from that of the AUB; and third to locate a larger plot of land than the rather restricted one at Aramoun on which to build a new campus for IC.
He successfully led faculty, staff and students to achieve improved academic quality over the years, partly by better in-service training opportunities, more careful testing and screening of entering students, guidance and counseling, special study programs for selected teachers, and closer supervision of boarding students in part through the provision of more resident tutors under the overall, expert care of James Sullivan, Head of the Boarding Department and unusually effective art teacher who had been his colleague at Scarborough School.
THE TEACHING FELLOW PROGRAM
These tutors were mainly recruited through the Teaching Fellow program started in the mid-1960s. President Schuller or a senior colleague would visit Ivy League universities in the U.S. annually to recruit promising seniors who would be invited to spend a year at IC where they would teach a class or two in English, often live in a dormitory supervising from 24-30 students, and either coach an athletic team, help to organize the increasingly general intramural athletic programs developed primarily by Larry Snyder, former U.S. trampoline champion, serve as advisor to one or more of the growing number of student extracurricular activities, clubs or publications, notably the impressive Torch yearbook produced annually by student editors. Teaching Fellows received free board and room at IC, but no salary and had to pay their own round trip travel. Nevertheless, from 6- 14 Teaching Fellows came to IC each year until the mid-1970s. They proved very helpful, even though each new group had to start from scratch, which made special demands on the regular staff who had to orient them. Several of these Fellows reported that they learned more in their year at IC than they had in four years at colleges such as Princeton or Yale. A few, such as James Garrett in 1966-67, returned later for a longer teaching assignment. He helped to start an Outward Bound type program and an Environmental Club which increased knowledge and raised awareness of ecological issues throughout the school and beyond.
SIX GENERATIONS OF U.S. FAMILY SERVICE TO IC AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Three American families have had unusually long and friendly relations with IC and the Middle East. Lachlan Reed, Teaching Fellow in 1969-70, and his younger brother Harold, who was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1990 represent the fourth generation in their family associated with IC. Their father, Dr. A. Lachlan Reed, studied briefly at IC in Turkey as a youth, served 23 years on its Board of Trustees, became emeritus in 1990, but remains active in its affairs. Their grandfather was Dr. Cass Arthur Reed, IC’s second president and their maternal great-grandfather was Dr. Alexander MacLachlan, Founder-President of the college.
- Huntington Bliss, long-time teacher of English and Dean of the Faculty at IC, who was Principal of Damascus College before joining the IC staff, retired in 1967 after 43 years of teaching in Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. His father was Howard S. Bliss, President of the SPC from 1902-1920. He and his elder brother, Dr. Daniel Bliss, a member of the IC Board of Trustees for 32 years, eighteen of them as Chairman from 1947-1965, both represent the third generation of Bliss family service to IC and the peoples of the Middle East extending back to 1855 when the first Daniel Bliss arrived in Beirut. Molly Bliss, daughter of the younger Dr. Daniel Bliss, a representative of the fourth generation, served as a nurse at both the AUB and the Admiral Bristol Hospital, Istanbul. Fifth and sixth generation members of the family associated with the AUB, IC and the Middle East are descended from the three daughters of Howard S. Bliss who married respectively, Bayard Dodge, Leslie Leavitt and Byron Smith.
Six generations of the Dodge family have devoted themselves to the peoples of Lebanon, Turkey, the Middle East and to generations of IC students and staff. William E. Dodge, Senior, was one of the six original Trustees of the Syrian Protestant College. He served as Treasurer of the Board from 1863 until his death in 1883. His son, William E. Dodge, Jr., was a trustee from 1883 until his death in 1903. Another son, David Stuart Dodge, was appointed the First professor of English and Latin from 1864-1873. He then served unofficially as secretary of the Board from 1870-1882, then successively as Secretary-Treasurer and, from 1908-1922 as President of the Board of Trustees. From 1863 until 1922, Dr. David Stuart Dodge kept in intimate touch with the College, the Prep after 1972 and with many of its staff and students. His known benefactions to the College were legion. He donated the Prep playing field, Dodge Hall, contributed generously to Bliss Hall and to many other buildings and facilities. His nephew, Cleveland H. Dodge, a close friend of President Woodrow Wilson, persuaded the President not to declare war on the Ottoman Empire when the U.S. entered the first World War against Germany in April 1917. This doubtless saved IC and the SPC, along with other American institutions in the empire from being forced to close, so that they could continue their services throughout the war despite enormous difficulties. Cleveland H. Dodge served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Robert College, Istanbul for some years after 1909. Between 1910 and 1913 he donated over $53,000 for the construction of West Hall, whose first director, from 1913-1918 was his son, Bayard Dodge.
Bayard Dodge married Mary, the eldest daughter of President Howard S. Bliss, in 1914. He served as Director of Near East Relief for Palestine and Syria from 1919-1922 when he was unanimously elected the first President of the American University of Beirut, taking office in 1923 and leading the institution to new levels of service for 25 years until his retirement in 1948. From 1936-48 he was concurrently President of IC. He was the author of several significant works. These include a magisterial English translation and edition of the Fihrist of al-Nadim, a history of al-Azhar university and another book on Medieval Islamic Education. His wife, Mary, opened their home and her heart to the needy, lonely, legions of scholars and official guests. Mary Bliss Dodge was a mother of two sons and daughters, a gracious hostess and invaluable helper to Bayard. She cared for refugees, the sick, wounded, starving and soldiers in two world wars and was loved by generations of IC and AUB students.
Bayard Dodge’s twin brother Cleveland was long the Chairman of the Board of the Near East College Association. Their sister, Elizabeth Dodge Huntington Dumont Clarke, served as a teacher and on the Board of the American College for Women, Istanbul, for some sixty years. Other relatives, such as Marcellus H. and Clarence Phelps Dodge also served as SPC and AUB trustees respectively. Bayard and Mary’s eldest son, David Stuart Dodge, served as Acting President and is now a trustee of the AUB. He is a former trustee of Robert College and currently Chairman of the Board of the Near East Foundation which, inter alia has cooperated with IC in agricultural projects and extension education. He and his wife Doris lived in Beirut for many years while he was an executive with Tapline company. Their daughter, Nina, served as Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Legal Aid Project office in East Jerusalem. Her brother, Bayard, who has worked in Saudi Arabia, is now a trustee of IC.
Other important factors involved in improving academic quality and coordination at IC included the move, begun under Principal Leavitt and Daniel Yorkey, to combine instruction in English at all levels and in each section under the supervision of a single academic specialist. Dr. J. William Nystrom brought this consolidation to fruition in the late 1960s. Closer coordination of the English and French sections was gradually achieved. Coeducation was also adopted class by class starting in the later 1960s. This has been acknowledged to have had positive effects.
LONG FACULTY SERVICE RECOGNIZED
IC has long been fortunate in the quality, dedication and continuity of a goodly proportion of its faculty and staff. For example, at Commencement on June 18, 1971, 22 members of the faculty who had served IC from 43 to 25 years respectively were recognized with individual citations and silver trays in appreciation for their long and dedicated service. It was also announced that henceforth the various sections of IC would be designated as Schools – Elementary, Intermediate and Secondary.
IC SEEKS MORE INDEPENDENT IDENTITY
During the 1960s, a variety of ancillary services, formerly performed by the AUB for a substantial fee, such as admissions, budgeting, financial records, registration, repairs, maintenance medical services and alumni relations were gradually taken over and administered by IC staff. These and other steps helped to affirm IC’s independence from the AUB.
President Schuller also managed, with active help from the trustees, to establish IC’s more separate identity vis-a-vis the AUB. This took time and persistent effort. He early organized IC’s own Public Relations, Development and Alumni Affairs office, led initially by Jack Sawaya and later by the veteran Archie S. Crawford, after he retired from the Vice-Presidency of the AUB, and by Ms. Nuha Mudawar. Schuller also organized a local Advisory Council composed of prominent businessmen, at first mainly expatriate which helped with public relations and expert counsel and later contributed increasingly significant funds.
ARAB TRUSTEES HELPFUL
In the 1950s and 1960’s leading Arab personalities, including some IC alumni, were invited to join the Board of Trustees. Their intimate knowledge of Lebanese and Middle Eastern affairs, perceptive insights, hard work and generosity have ever since proved of inestimable value to the college and its constituency. Efforts such as these helped to create a new and more widely recognized identity as well as to raise locally, for the first time, substantial funds for IC.
SEEKING A NEW CAMPUS
The long—projected move to a new campus remained a continuing concern. By 1962 arrangements had been made to dispose of the Aramoun property in favor of an option to buy a much larger and more desirable property at Mechref, on the hills behind Damour, some fifteen miles south of Beirut. The trustees had mobilized to campaign for at least five million dollars needed to construct the initial phase of campus buildings on this site, again planned by the architectural firm of Edward Durrell Stone. President Schuller spent the academic year of 1965-66 fund raising in the U.S. Major gifts were made by the Dodge Foundation and former President Bayard Dodge, the U.S. government, Mrs. DeWitt Acheson Wallace, co-founder of Reader’s Digest and others.
Eventually, the first seven handsome buildings, including one named MacLachlan Hall and others named after former Principals Hall, Leavitt and Tabit, and teachers Acheson, Bliss, Wuthier and Zurayk, IC ‘24, were dedicated on Thursday, October 21, 1971. These were commissioned in the presence of President Suleiman Frangieh, Prime Minister Saeb Salam, IC ‘22, eight members of his cabinet of whom five were IC alumni, virtually all of the trustees, faculty, staff, many students, parents, other friends of IC and various dignitaries. Dr. Daniel Bliss gave the invocation and Professor Zurayk made the opening address in Arabic.
By December, about a thousand IC Secondary School students began using the new campus. Difficulties arose over bussing large numbers of day students and staff to Mechref and back daily, scheduling of teachers’ time and the lowered morale among students who felt isolated and missed the urban amenities of Beirut. It was therefore decided to return the older students to the Ras Beirut campus and to organize classes for younger Intermediate School students at Mechref. This worked out more satisfactorily from 1972 until 1975, when regular academic programs at Mechref had to be abandoned as a result of the dangers and disruptions of the civil war after April, 1975. An IC presence to provide at least token continuity and deter possible intrusions or looting on the Mechref campus was maintained for several months by a volunteer, skeleton crew of daring staff, led by Thomas Weaver, Head Teacher of English and historian Nimr Ibrahim, later joined by the Maurice Dumonts who lived nearby. Alas, repeated occupations or threats of occupation by successive militias, eventually forced even these intrepid IC veterans to withdraw. As the civil war and external attacks continued, it became harder for teachers, staff and students from East Beirut to get to school at the main Ras Beirut campus. Therefore, space was eventually rented from the neighboring American Community School. This was used for both classes and housing for some staff members unable to commute from their homes. Despite the terrible bombing and shelling in 1976, culminating in the actual bombing of the IC campus on July 4th, IC avoided any casualties through 1976 and managed to graduate a large class of 246 in mid-July, 1976.
President Schuller announced his resignation effective at the end of the calendar year, in the summer of 1976. Academic Vice-President Alton L. Reynolds was named to succeed him.
ALTON L. REYNOLDS: PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE 1977-86
Alton Reynolds was a New England schoolman in mid-career with five children when he accepted an invitation to join the IC staff with his wife Nancy, a specialist in Early Childhood education. They reached Beirut in September, 1972 and soon grew to love Lebanon and its people. Al Reynolds became Director of the Elementary School. He revised the program, revitalized teachers who had felt rather out of touch with President Schuller, and improved relations with parents, reemphasizing, as Principal Leavitt had done in the 1950s, their essential role in the education and healthy development of their children.
Reynolds’ rare qualities of mind and character were quickly recognized. Teachers and students responded positively to this expert teacher and administrator who cared deeply for each individual. Reynolds had the great teacher’s capacity to truly educate by eliciting the innate curiosity and intelligence of each person he interacted with. Even when freely sharing his considerable knowledge and insight he managed to convey these so simply and unobtrusively that the learner and beneficiary felt that her or his own ideas were being expressed.
REAFFIRMING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The Elementary School had at times been rather a neglected child by both the AUB and the IC. Reynolds made clear to President Schuller and his colleagues that, in fact, IC could do some of its most significant work and come closer to achieving its basic goals if more emphasis were placed upon the Elementary School which offered unique opportunities to foster better learning and influence character more positively because its students were younger and consequently more ready to benefit from their education at IC. Dr. Nystrom’s success in improving English language learning at IC in the mid to late 1960s had been based on establishing firm early foundations in the language among the Elementary students, so Reynolds argued persuasively that that experience could be replicated and enhanced by improved instruction and learning opportunities throughout the Elementary School program. He led the way in these improvements which proved in time to have a salutary effect on the entire IC student body and faculty.
THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES CENTER
Reynolds also proved highly effective in the burgeoning professional upgrading and consulting activities of the Educational Resources Center first headed by Dr. George Rochfort, who was Vice-President for Academic Affairs in 1972. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the ERC, now headed by Dr. Mona Habib, has assisted over forty schools in several countries on a contractual basis which has proved mutually beneficial. Reynolds succeeded Rochfort in 1975 and was effectively in charge of IC from about October, 1976 although his formal appointment as President of International College only took effect in January, 1977. By this time the dreadful civil war was exacting increasing sacrifices. The Syrian army had been invited into Lebanon, the expansionist, hard-line Likud party had gained control of Israel’s government in July, 1977 and in 1978 Israel invaded Lebanon. The UNIFIL peacekeeping forces and U.S. Special Ambassador Philip Habib’s mediation efforts in 1981 and up to June, 1982 failed to deter Israel’s second, devastating invasion an June 5, 1982.
A SECOND CAMPUS LOST
This was a further blow to IC’s long efforts to obtain urgently needed additional campus space which had again been on the verge of success. IC had purchased the small campus of the former British High School near the Beirut airport at Bishamoun. Building modifications had been made and an Olympic size swimming pool, donated by trustee Elie A. Sehnaoui, IC ‘56, was to have been formally inaugurated that very day that Israel attacked with overwhelming force, alas illegally using terrifyingly destructive weapons supplied by the U.S. on condition that they be used only for defense.
THE IC COMMUNITY UNDAUNTED EY SIEGE OR WAR
Reynolds and IC’s resilient staff and students persevered against terrible adds to pursue their educational objectives. They proved able, year after year, to provide a good education end graduate reasonably well prepared students despite disheartening crises, disruption and, alas, eventually, casualties. Students continued to produce plays, poems, even a championship basketball team and to publish the substantial Torch yearbook full of pictures testifying to the ongoing academic and extracurricular life of IC.
In his brief annual letters to graduating seniors, President Reynolds revealed some of his thoughts and hopes despite Lebanon’s and IC’s traumas. For example, in 1983 he quoted the Chinese sage Kwan-Tzu, “When planning for a year — sow corn. When planning for a decade — plant trees. When planning for life — train and educate men” He added, …“this Chinese proverb often helps me to put into perspective what we are attempting to do as a school community, particularly during these turbulent years… one never really stops learning, and the skills and study habits and attitudes that you have developed this year in your formal schooling should open up new visions and opportunities for a better life. This growing awareness of one’s potential, which is central to our educational philosophy at I.C., is expressed in another saying… ‘A child’s mind is a candle to be lit, not a cup to be filled.’ Once again,…we are faced with a very serious crisis, and one is caught up in events and is easily discouraged.. .you are now in the early years of formal education. There is much to look forward to, and I hope that in spite of the many difficulties, you have had a good year at I.C.”
In 1985 Reynolds wrote the following: “. . . it occurs to me that our success as a school owes much to the qualities you have brought and shared with us. Since 1977, when I was first appointed President of the College, I started each academic year with the intention of spending as much time as possible with you and getting to know you better. Unfortunately, in such turbulent times, we have been so overwhelmed with concern for security, for finances, for providing classrooms when damages have occurred and campuses lost that our appreciation of the most precious element of the school has unintentionally been diminished. Each student is unique, with hidden talents and resources that only need to be tapped. My message this year is a special tribute to all students of I.C. Although this year has not been an easy one, I sense a feeling of togetherness, happiness, and a determination to become better people…”
A LARGE NEW BUILDING AND IMPROVED FACILITIES AT LAST
President Reynolds also informed students that they would return in the fall to find “many physical changes and improvements to the campus. For example, the Elementary School grades 1 through 5, both English and French Programs, will move to their new home in the former British Embassy building just below our Campus on the Corniche. The Secondary School will enjoy new up-to-date science laboratories including a large lecture-demonstration room.” At long last the unusable Mechref campus was sold in December, 1985, not long after the purchase of the old British Embassy premises. This spacious building relied much of the increasingly great pressures for classroom and other space as IC enrollments had climbed over the 2500 level, some five times the number of students originally anticipated when the first Prep campus was being built before World War I.
BEING AND DOING DESPITE RELENTLESS PRESSURES
The dangers increased, especially for a highly visible American like President Reynolds. Hostages were being seized. His family reluctantly went home to Massachusetts. Al Reynolds carried
- At last he and his friend and colleague Tom Weaver, (who had retired from IC in 1984, but stayed on in Beirut) moved to a then safer East Beirut. Weaver reports that Reynolds kept working ceaselessly for his beloved IC. Finally, the indefatigable Al Reynolds was overwhelmed by a fatal heart attack brought on by anxiety and overwork in October, 1986. It was a tragic and terrible loss to his family, friends and the entire IC community for which he gave his life. He leaves a remarkable legacy and a vibrant school.
The trustees were stunned, but soon appointed one of their members, Thomas W. Hill interim President. Mr. Edmond Tohme, Director of the Senior (or Secondary) School since 1982 and a former teacher of philosophy who had done graduate work at Oxford and Stanford and holds the M.A. degree, took on increased responsibilities. He was later appointed Deputy President in charge of IC’S new campus at Ain Aar, in East Beirut as well as the main campus in Ras Beirut. The refurbished former British Embassy building now bears the worthy name of “Alton L. Reynolds Hall” and his widow Nancy Reynolds has become an active member of the IC Board of Trustees.
IC ALUMNI FROM LEBANON AND TURKEY AT WORLD CHILDREN SUMMIT
International College continues under President Gerrit Keator, Deputy President Edmond Tohme and their colleagues. It also continues to provide well trained and highly motivate leaders. For example, the College was ably represented at the World Summit for Children at the United Nations September 29- October 1, 1990, by distinguished alumni from both of its homelands in Lebanon and Turkey. Prime Minister Selim al—Hoss, IC ‘48 and Dr. Khalil Makkawi, IC ‘50, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Lebanon at the United Nations were there for Lebanon. Dr. Ihsan Dogramaci, IC ‘34, Chairman, National Education Council of Turkey, Executive Director of the World Pediatric Association and Professor at the Sorbonne was one of Turkey’s delegates. He is a former Chairman of the Board of UNICEF, the sponsor of this Summit, and continues as a member of this Board. He is also the Founder-President of Hacettepe University and founder and Chairman of the Board of Bilkent University, Turkey’s first private university.
Prime Minister al-Hoss informed the writer that his IC experiences had taught him valuable lessons. He learned to live tolerantly with many diverse students of various faiths. He remembers getting to know ethnic Turks, Cypriots, Jews, Ethiopian princes, Greeks and Latin Americans, to respect others and that “we had much in common.” The Prime Minister continued, “My teachers Musa Suleiman in Arabic, Shafik Jeha in History and Faiz As’ad in Physics and Chemistry were especially stimulating. I was much impressed by the ways in which IC helped us to build our personalities by encouraging independent thinking and making each of US feel responsible for our own future. Among the things which have had an important effect on my life were, a) learning that work as a waiter or even shining shoes to earn money for one’s education was not demeaning, but could actually gain one more respect from instructors or other students; and b) that many leaders in the U.S. had worked their way through college by part- time work during school and full-time summer jobs and that this experience often helped them later in their professional careers. As my family was of modest means, these new attitudes impressed me greatly. Please convey my greetings to everyone at IC and congratulations for the hundredth anniversary of the College.”
Ambassador Makkawi also spoke warmly about IC. He said: “I think that IC was and will always be a great institution in Lebanon. I don’t think any comparable school can match IC because of its location -Ras Beirut is the true face of Lebanon, the cosmopolitan area which makes IC a meeting place of different creeds and cultural backgrounds. You cannot imagine the kind of atmosphere that I grew up in there at IC. It was a wonderful place and the student body was very diverse. We need that today, so that we care be tolerant and avoid the extremes of nationalism. Even today IC still represents a mix of Christians and Muslims, poor, middle and upper classes. If we have any chance to bring about unity again in Lebanon it is institutions such as IC or the AUB that can help us do so.”
Dr. Dogramaci traveled to IC by train and desert bus from Erbil, Iraq, where his elementary education was in Turkish. He lived in Bliss Hall during his two years at IC, completing five grades in two years and graduating from the 12th grade in 1934. “It was very hectic, especially taking Algebra and Geometry at the same time. Mr. Tabit, Mr. Julius Brown in math and Dean Nickoley influenced me the most. Various teachers would speak to us in our assemblies. I used to listen to them attentively and believe what they said, which I think made a good impression on me. I particularly remember Dean Nickoley’s lectures. He would tell us: “Talk straight, walk straight, look straight in the eye, be straight!” I would wonder if I was doing things which weren’t straight? I will be glad to host an IC reunion in Turkey in connection with the centennial of the College.”
TWO DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS EXPRESS APPRECIATION FOR THEIR IC YEARS
Moving from world affairs to the academic profession, once again IC alumni continue to play useful and significant roles. Two in particular are strategically placed to help to enlighten the poorly informed U. S. public out the lasting importance, diversity, beauty and complexity of the Middle East and its hospitable people possessed of a unique heritage and untapped potential.
Professor Hisham Sharabi, former Director of the Center for Arabic Studies and distinguished historian at Georgetown University, Washington, D. C., currently Chairman of the Jerusalem Fund, which aids needy Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip, studied at IC under Leslie Leavitt. In 1967 Hisham Sharabi wrote about IC as follows:
“Four years of my life were exposed to the close molding influence of the IC. These were crucial years in that they were formative of the intellectual and emotional orientations of the adult years to follow. For me I think the most important influences were three: (1) Intellectually, my experience at the IC. gave me the means whereby to decide the areas and disciplines most suited to my interest and temperament. I think I had decided to become a historian at ten years of age during my 8th grade course with Mounir Sa’adeh. (2) At I.C. I was provided with the mental tools and the basic orientations for independence of judgment. To me this is perhaps the most important aspect, for it is the condition of individual freedom of mind. (3) Life at I.C. was the avenue for many friendships that have ever since been central in my life.”
His neighbor and colleague, Dr. Fuad Ajami, another IC alumnus, is a leading political scientist and Director of Middle East Studies at The School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Arab Predicament and other works, a consultant to CBS News and former holder of a coveted MacArthur Fellowship, perhaps one of the most prestigious awards next to the Nobel prize. This is what Fuad Ajami wrote regarding IC in 1985 to then trustee Merle Thorpe, Jr., President of The Foundation for Middle East Peace. Thorpe kindly passed it on to John Griswold, then Chairman of the Board noting: “It’s as moving a paragraph as I have ever read. Certainly it should make all of you who have devoted yourselves to International College extremely proud.” You may agree. Let this report end with Fuad Ajami’ poignant words:
“There is no basis for a healthy Arab-American relationship in this decade. And believe me that is something I lament as deeply as you do. Your statement about being a trustee of the International College of Beirut and being unable to go there means more to me than you may suspect. I attended that institution and if I have gone anywhere academically in my life today it was the gift of that school that enabled me to do so. I went to that institution after a hopeless education in a hopeless school in a Shia slum northeast of Beirut. When I arrived at the IC my educational prospect could not have been bright but the excellence of the place and the freedom of the place enabled me to see that there was a world beyond Lebanon, beyond a very difficult personal and family life that I had there and beyond the feuds and the bravado and the deceptions and the small universe of Lebanon. I can write you volumes about the men and women who taught me there, about the world of books and discipline and devotion that that school opened up for me. That was how I knew America and saw it. And that in the end was what brought me here.”
Howard A. Reed
with the aid of Shafik Jeha
Storrs, CT. October 15, 1990