The History of AUS | American University of Sharjah

Our First 25 Years

Early Years: 1997–2001

  • 1997

    In 1997, AUS was founded by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah.

    • October 4, 1997: First day of classes

      AUS had 285 students on the first day of classes, taught by 30 faculty members.

  • 1998
    • Dr. Roderick French appointed first chancellor of AUS
    • Licensed by UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
    • First Student Council elections held

      Architecture student Omran Al Owais, a UAE national, was elected the first Student Council President.

    • First AUS Global Day held
  • 1999
    • Licensed by the Commission for Academic Accreditation of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
  • 2000
    • First graduate program launched (MBA)

      The Master of Business Administration program opens to new graduate students, offered by the School of Business and Management.

    • Hamid D. Jafar Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
  • 2001
    • First commencement held

      The first graduating class of AUS celebrated commencement at University City Hall, with 82 students receiving their degrees.

    • Nelson Mandela visits AUS

      The late Nelson Mandela, former South African President, gave a lecture on "Education and Its Challenges" at American University of Sharjah at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.



  • 2002
    • Dr. Winfred Thompson appointed chancellor
  • 2004
    • Accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), USA
  • 2005
    • His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa Al Nahyan Scholarship Fund established
  • 2006
    • New AUS Library opens
    • CEN undergraduate programs accredited by ABET
    • SBA accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
    • Petrofac Scholarship Fund established


  • 2008
    • Dr. Peter Heath appointed chancellor
    • Student body elects first female Student Council President

      CAS student Sarah Al Shammari from Saudi Arabia was elected by her peers as the first female president of the AUS Student Council for the 2007–2008 academic year.

    • Performing Arts Program holds first student production

      The AUS Performing Arts Program debuted its first student production, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, on April 29, 2008. Read more.

    • AUS Alumnus Sheikh Mohammed Faisal Al Qassimi Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Riad T. Sadek Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Maroun Semaan Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Asfari Foundation Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Dr. Aisha Al-Sayar Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Wasfi Ataya Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Chalhoub Group Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
  • 2009
    • Student body crosses the 5,000 mark
    • AUSAA Alumni Scholarship Fund established

      The fund provides AUS alumni the opportunity to impact a new generation of AUS students in the form of financial scholarships. 

    • AUS Alumnus Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Yusri Al Dwaik Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Haseeb Rasoul Pioneer Scholarship Fund established
    • Riad T. Sadik Chair in Civil Engineering established
    • Khalaf Al Habtoor Chair in International Relations established
    • Petrofac Research Chair in Renewable Energy established
  • 2010
    • BArch gains NAAB accreditation

      The Bachelor of Architecture program offered by the College of Architecture, Art and Design becomes the first outside of North America to earn US National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation.

    • Jerry & Charlotte Smith Scholarship Fund established
  • 2011
    • New SBM building opened

      His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the new 90-million AED state-of-the-art School of Business and Management (SBM) building on June 13, 2011. His Highness also unveiled a plaque expressing AUS’ sincere appreciation to the Government of Sharjah and Crescent Petroleum Company for their generous support toward the construction of the SBM building. The school was later renamed the School of Business Administration.

    • Sheikh Seoud Bin Khalid Bin Khalid Al Qassimi Chair in Family Business established
    • Chalhoub Professorship in Luxury Brand Management established
    • Dana Gas Chair in Chemical Engineering established
    • Bank of Sharjah Chair in Finance established
    • Abdul Jalil Yousuf Darwish Scholarship Fund established
    • Riad Kamal Young Palestinians Scholarship Fund established
    • Emal Emiratization (Falah) Scholarship Fund established
    • Shabana Faisal Scholarship Fund established


  • 2012
    • AUS ranks among Quacquarelli Symonds’ world top 500 universities for the first time 
    • Forbes Middle East ranks AUS MBA program the best offered by a private university in the Gulf region
    • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Scholarship Fund established
    • Dr. Ibrahim Sadek Memorial Scholarship established
  • 2013
    • AUS receives Middle East Top 50 CIO award
    • Nobel Laureate and renowned economist Dr. Thomas Sargent visits AUS
    • Music legend Quincy Jones visits AUS
    • Ahmed Seddiqi Chair in Gulf and Middle Eastern Studies established
    • Du Scholarship Fund established
    • Peter Heath Women Entrepreneurship Fund established
  • 2014
    • Dr. Björn Kjerfve appointed chancellor
    • AUS is first educational institution to be awarded GHP Certificate of Appreciation by Sharjah Municipality
    • Best-selling author Dan Brown visits AUS
    • Sir Easa Saleh Al Gurg Professorship in International Studies established
    • Sir Easa Saleh Al Gurg Young Leaders Scholarship Fund established
  • 2014
    • AUS wins “Green School” category at Emirates Green Building Council Awards
    • 1 million AED mass comm studio opens
    • Former US President Jimmy Carter visits AUS
  • 2016
    • US News ranks SBA the top business school in the Arab world
    • Region's first Interactive Trading Floor opens at AUS
    • Dr. Peter Diamond, 2010 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, visits AUS


  • 2017
    • AUS celebrates 20th anniversary
    • AUS ranked #1 globally for highest percentage of international students.

      AUS tops the Times Higher Education (THE) list of universities with the highest percentage of international students globally.

    • AUS wins top awards at the Sustainable Campus Initiative
  • 2018
    • UAE Pioneers Award honors AUS as the Prestigious Center for Research and Science in the UAE
    • First doctoral program launched: PhD in Engineering Systems Management
    • AUS Exceptional Student Fund established
  • 2019
    • Professor Kevin Mitchell appointed chancellor
    • Dr. Ghaleb Husseini achieves patent publication for “Systems and Methods for Targeted Breast Cancer Therapies”
    • QS World University Rankings names AUS among the Top 50 Universities Under 50 Years
    • New Engineering and Sciences building opens
    • AUS students awarded US$10,000 to build winning design installation
    • Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons Scholarship Fund established
    • GE Scholarship Fund established
    • Eng. Fathi Afana Endowment Scholarship Fund established
  • 2020
    • AUS successfully shifts to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • AUS wins Best Green Campus Audit at Abu Dhabi Environment Agency’s Sustainable Campus Initiative
  • 2021
    • Dr. Susan Mumm appointed chancellor, becoming the first woman Chancellor of AUS
    • AUS celebrates its first PhD graduates

      Mustafa Al Tekreeti, Taha Anjamrooz and Hasan Saleh Mahmoud awarded the PhD in Engineering - Engineering Systems Management (PhD-ESM). Read more.

    • AUS research team receives US patent for novel breast cancer treatment
    • AUS receives STARS Silver rating for its sustainability achievements
    • Sharjah National Oil Corporation Scholarship Fund established


  • 2022

    AUS celebrates its Silver Jubilee, marking 25 years since we opened our doors to students, faculty and staff.
    Read more.

    • CEN researchers build world’s first conductive concrete building
    • Sheikha Nama Majid Al Qassimi Endowed Chair in Education Across Disciplines established
  • 2023

    Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi appointed President of AUS and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
    Read more.

    • Dr. Tod A. Laursen appointed chancellor
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