David S. Dodge

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David S. Dodge
Born David Stuart Dodge
November 17, 1922
Beirut, Lebanon
Died January 20, 2009 (2009-01-21) (aged 86)
Princeton, New Jersey
Nationality American
Occupation President of the American University of Beirut
Known for Hostage

David Stuart Dodge (November 17, 1922 – January 20, 2009) was the Vice-President for Administration (1979–83), Acting President (1981–82) and President (1996–97) of the American University of Beirut (AUB).


Dodge came from a prominent American family, closely involved with Lebanon for well over a century:[1]

[His] family has led AUB for generations. Born in Beirut in 1922, Mr. Dodge was the son of former AUB President Bayard Dodge, the grandson of former President Howard Bliss, and the great-grandson of Daniel Bliss, who founded AUB in 1866.[2]

He was also the grandson of Cleveland Hoadley Dodge, founder of the Near East Foundation.[3]

He received his high school education at Deerfield Academy and BA at Princeton University (1945). For his masters, also at Princeton, he studied Arabic and Middle East Studies.[1]


Dodge served in the OSS during World War II. After the war, he found employment at Aramco in the late 1940s and worked for the Trans-Arabian Pipeline Company; the Tapline (TAPCO) from 1952 to 1977. He returned to the States and served as president of the Near East Foundation from 1977 to 1979.[1][4]

In 1961, Mr. Dodge had joined the Board of Trustees of AUB. In 1979, he returned to Beirut and joined the faculty of AUB. He served as acting president of AUB from 1981 to 1982, when his service was interrupted violently. Following his ordeal, Mr. Dodge moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where he worked briefly as recording secretary of Princeton University. That same year (1983), he rejoined the board of AUB. He served as president of AUB from 1996 to 1997 from its offices in New York City.[1][2][4]

During his career, Dodge also served as president of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation.[2]


On July 19, 1982, Dodge was abducted from the AUB campus by pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim extremists, flown to a prison near Tehran, and held until his release exactly one year later. "The kidnapping, and the ensuing diplomatic efforts to secure Mr. Dodge’s release, received worldwide news coverage."[1] The Syrian government helped secure his release from Iran, after being held initially in Lebanon. The kidnapping was considered significant because it directly implicated Iran in the hostage-taking activities of Shiite factions in Lebanon. Dodge was one of the first Americans kidnapped. Some hostages were killed and others released after many years, including Terry A. Anderson. Malcolm H. Kerr, who succeeded Dodge as president of AUB, was shot and killed outside his AUB office in January 1984.[1][2][4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Dodge married Doris Westfall Dodge; they were married until her death in 2000. Together, they had four children: Nina, Bayard, Melissa, and Simon.[1][4] He married the former Margaret White in 2002.[4]


Dodge retired to Princeton. He died there of cancer on January 20, 2009. He was survived by his second wife Margaret White Dodge, nee Keating, a sister, four children, and four grandchildren.[1][2][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Fox, Margalit (25 January 2009). "David Dodge, an Early Lebanon Hostage, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Death Notice: David S. Dodge". New York Times. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "90th Anniversary (PDF)" (PDF). Near East Foundation. 2005. Retrieved 30 November 2011. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f "David Dodge dies – led American University". San Francisco Chronicle. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Target America". Frontline. n.d. Retrieved 30 November 2011.