Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees and former AUBG student Victoria Entwistle announced the retirement of H.R.H. Princess Maria-Luisa of Bulgaria during the 29th Commencement Ceremony on May 21, 2023.
Princess Maria-Luisa has been a longtime friend and supporter of the American University in Bulgaria. She has served on the AUBG Board of Trustees for a total of six terms, from May 1999 to October 2009, and again from May 2017 until May 2023. In the intervening years, she served multiple terms on the University Council. In October 2011, in recognition of her distinguished service to the University, she received AUBG’s highest award, the Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa.
“Throughout her association with AUBG, Princess Maria-Luisa has been a stalwart advocate for the University’s mission, a kind and generous supporter of the campus community, and a good friend to all of us,” Entwistle said. “She has served as a direct connection to Bulgaria’s history and a symbol of grace and resilience in the face of many different kinds of adversity and turmoil. Those, who have the pleasure of knowing her, see her kindness, her sharp but understated sense of humor, and her amazing combination of old-world manners and contemporary outlook. The AUBG community is fortunate that she is a part of it.”
Princess Maria-Luisa was present on the stage of the Commencement Ceremony to award Manol Peykov with the special HRH Princess Maria Louisa Distinguished AUBG Alumni Award For Civic Leadership and Change and to receive the special distinction Princess Maria-Luisa Emeritus Trustee.
“I have to tell you that I love this place,” Princess Maria-Luisa said. “I joined this wonderful university long before some of you were born, when two wonderful Bulgarians Stefan Gruev and Dimi Panitza invited me to join the Board. And that was 24 years ago. And I’ve been on it and loved it but now I am 90, I think I’ve got the right to retire. All the best to all of you, you will always be in my heart. And if I can ever do anything for AUBG, I’ll do it.”
Manol Peykov ('95, EMBA '08)/ Photo by Yenlik O'Neill
Victoria Entwistle/ Photo by Yenlik O'Neill
Princess Maria-Luisa Emeritus Trustee
As a gesture of gratitude to the Princess, the Board created a new category, the Princess Maria-Luisa Emeritus Trustee, for retiring members who have served the University with special distinction, and unanimously voted to award Princess Maria-Luisa the first one.
“In the future, we will continue to honor both the Princess and future Princess Maria-Luisa Emeritus Trustees who have been vital to AUBG’s success and thriving,” Entwistle said.
Moral Courage Support
In addition to that, Entwistle announced the establishment of a new scholarship for incoming students – the Moral Courage Support Endowed Scholarship.
“I am delighted to announce that we have also created an endowed fund to support the Moral Courage Scholarship in perpetuity. The Moral Courage Scholarship has been Princess Maria-Luisa’s project throughout her service to AUBG. Inspired by Princess Maria-Luisa’s father Tsar Boris III’s refusal to surrender Bulgaria’s Jewish community to the Nazis in 1943, the Moral Courage Scholarship will annually recognize a student who has sought to do the right thing in the face of real personal risk. In a difficult world full of tough ethical dilemmas, the Moral Courage Scholarship is intended to inspire students to keep the integrity and positive values first when faced with such challenges. The creation of this endowment ensures that the Moral Courage Scholarship will continue to be available to students who have exemplified the bravery necessary to stand up against wrong.”