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First Ever Donor Recognition Reception Thanks AUBG’s Ardent Supporters

March 05, 2019

The first ever AUBG Donor Recognition Dinner gathered together members of the administration, current students, alumni, and donors to celebrate and thank the patrons of the university Feb. 28 at the American College of Sofia. The event is to become an annual tradition and was hosted by AUBG students Megi Hamza, who is a recipient of the Albanian-American Development Foundation Scholarship, and Boris Dechev, who studies at AUBG with the support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation.  

The event’s program featured the talented performances of the AUBG Rock Jamming Club, the AUBG Broadway Performance Club and the AUBG female folklore ensemble Svetlina. The evening began with a heartwarming “Thank you” video. 

Following the video, AUBG President Steven Sullivan took the stage. “It is incredibly important for us as an institution to recognize the donors who have helped make this very special university possible to exist in the first place,” he said. “The philanthropy of people in Bulgaria, the United States and around the world has been a critical part of what has helped AUBG become the success that it is today. And it is a success because we have thousands of graduates out there making a difference in Bulgaria, in their home countries, and all over the world.” 

The pinnacle of the evening was the awarding of the highest prize– the Visionary award. Dimi Panitza, one of the founders of the American University in Bulgaria, and his wife, Yvonne, received the award posthumously. The family played a significant role in turning the Panitza library into a modern facility with access to more than 100,000 books and over 10,000 printed and electronic editions. Today, it is the largest English-language university library in Southeast Europe. Dimi and Yvonne Panitza have also generously contributed to the scholarship fund for needy and deserving students, supporting more than 250 youngsters in their pursuit of quality education over the years.

The Donors Recognition Award in the “Foundation Donation” category went to one of AUBG’s greatest benefactors, the America for Bulgaria Foundation.  “We at the America for Bulgaria Foundation are proud to support the AUBG students,” said Desislava Taliokova, Executive Director at the foundation. “Looking at some of the country’s, and actually the world’s most dynamic and admirable companies, organizations and institutions, there’s invariably an AUBG alumnus.” 

AUBG’s long-term supporters Nellie and Robert Gipson received the second award—the Donors Recognition Award in the “Friends” category. They could not be present at the event but sent their video greetings from the U.S.

“What has brought us all together tonight is the belief in education-- education as the vital component of building a civilized democratic society,” Nelly Gipson said in the video. “Me and [Robert] are firm believers in education and committed supporters of the work of AUBG.”

The award in the “Corporate Donations” category went to C3i Solutions. Svetoslav Georgiev (EMBA ‘05), VP, International Operations at the company and member of the Board of Trustees at AUBG, received the award. “Ever since graduating the EMBA program at the American University in Bulgaria, I have been looking for ways to give back to the university,” Georgiev said.

Vasil Terziev (‘01), AUBG graduate and co-founder of Telerik, received the award in the “Alumni Donations” category. He could not attend the event but sent a letter with a personal message. “I would encourage all of you, who believe AUBG has transformed your life in a positive way, to start with ‘something’ but not stop there,” Terziev’s letter read. “Giving to AUBG is a great investment that will allow future generations to have the same chance that people like me did– access to a top educational institution and an environment that will change them forever, for the better.”

Story by Dimana Doneva
Videos by Anastasia Garyainova
Photos by Igor Grinin

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