Princess Fatma and the University Project

This matter was not to go on at this rate for long because it would have exposed the university project to cease, here, the contribution of Princess Fatma, daughter of Khedive Ismail, emerged in this terrible time that the university went through. Princess Fatma declared her desire to contribute in order to ensure the continuity of the project as well as consolidating the basis of all its pillars.

The location in which the university was established did not belong to the university which was spending every year a lot of money, about 400 L.E. per year, to rent it. The university was in need to this money to spend in other ways, such as; consignments and education. The location, headquarters of the American University now, also did not meet its needs, and was not suitable as a steady headquarter.

The owner of the location, Ganaklis, did not want to invest the location in renting, but wanted to sell it whether to the university or to another institution. Prince Ahmed Fouaad interfered and asked Ganaklis to extend the lease to another four another, so Ganaklis agreed provided that he would not rent it for them after this period.
Dr.\ Mohamed Olwy Pasha illustrated to Princess Fatma, he was the physician of her family, these circumstances that the university passed by as well as the disturbance of the project's budget that threatened the continuity of the project if these circumstances continued without a serious aid that guarantee its progress and consolidation. This lead Princess Fatma to declare to him that she is willing to exert all what she can for the sake of the project. Therefore, she allocated six acres to establish a new location for the university, not to mention 661acres of the best agricultural lands at Dakahlia Directorate, which are included in 3357 acres allocated by her to charity. She endowed the revenues of these lands to the university (3357 acres, 14 kirats, and 14 shares), 40 % after deducting benefits and salaries, totaling 5239 pounds each year. The revenue of this endowment to the university's budget was estimated at 4000 L.E. per year.

Designation of the University's Buildings

As soon as these tidings were known, the university made initiatives of informing national engineers renowned for their expertise and ingenuity, they were; Saber Sabry Pasha, Mahmoud Fahmy Bek, and others whom the university asked to set a design for the university. Therefore, they voluntarily plug away at, to serve the university until they came out with a design in the style of modern universities which was shown after that to a committee that is composed of Mr.\ Boydkartiz, inspector of Public Education Ministry, Mr.\ Bits, Head of municipalities at Interior Ministry, and Mr.\ Seton, an architect, and they agreed on it. They decided to initiate building the first category of the design, which its area is about four thousand meters. It includes The Public Administration Center, field of literary and legal sciences teaching, and other sciences that did not need practical exercises, and it had a beautiful Arabic style.  

The other departments were six, the university would intend to build whenever they were needed and whenever resources were possible, are; natural science department, chemistry department, geology and mineralogy department, zoology and comparative anatomy department, and botany department which was attached with a garden of local and foreign plants. Each department included classrooms, laboratories, and library for each department. As well as a department for the university's library, a department for documents, linear effects, and coins, and a special building for the university president and its general secretary.

Celebrating Laying the Foundation Stone for the University Project

On 31/3/1914, at 4:30 p.m., the university celebrated laying the foundation stone for itself in the land endowed by Princess Fatma's state. The celebration was lead by Khedive Abbas Helmy the second, who laid the foundation stone down at the presence of princes, headmasters, the judge of Egypt, sheikh of Al-Azhar mosque, great scientists, consuls of the state, head and members of the Legislative Assembly, dignitaries, owners of newspapers, and writers in Egypt. Neither Lord Catchner nor the leader of the occupation army attended the celebration, and they also did not apologize.

This sentence was written on the foundation stone: "The Egyptian University, Princess Fatma the daughter of Ismail, Hijri year1332". The stone was laid within the ground, with classes of circulated Egyptian currency, a group of newspapers issued at the day of celebration, a copy of the record of laying the foundation stone, all this was culminated with the signature of the Khedive, Princess Fatma, then Prince Ahmed Fouaad Pasha, honorary president of Cairo University, followed them in signing, then the Head and members of Cairo University Administration Council.

Princess Fatma Donates her Jewelry

Princess Fatma declared that she will take the responsibility of the rest of building costs that were estimated to be 26,000 L.E. this by displaying her jewelry for sale. She had presented them for the project, and the responsibility of sale for the university's administration according to what was necessary for the university's interest. They did not succeed in selling them at the university; therefore, they decided to display them for sale outside Egypt. The jewelry included the following:
1.    Necklace of Emerald, it included pieces surrounded by brilliant diamond. It is presented by Sultan Abdul Aziz to Ismail pasha.
2.    Four pieces inherited from Said Pasha were:
a)    Bracelet of brilliant diamond, included round shape centered by a stone, weighted 20 carats, and 10 large pieces of round shape, and a chain that is wrapped around the wrist, inlaid with 18 large pieces and 56 smaller pieces, all in square shape.
b)    A feather of brilliant diamond heart-shaped, crossed with arrows, inlaid with stones of different sizes.
c)    Bracelet included gold chain, from which three stones of brilliant diamond were hanging down, the large stones weighted 20 carats, and small ones weighted 12 carats.
d)    Ring inlaid with pyramid-shaped diamond which color inclined to blue.

The university mandated Dr.\ Mohamed Olwy Pasha, Princess Fatma's Physician, to take the responsibility of selling the jewelry. Mohamed Olwy Pasha was enabled to sell them at a very favorable price, and the university hugely benefited from it, as the jewelry was sold at 70000 L.E. Agreement was made with Anglo-Egyptian bank at Egypt to receive the jewelry, and pay the price, but the bank wanted to receive the jewelry without valuing its price, therefore, the university refused to deliver it in this case, until Olwy pasha wrote to the university asking it to lift the responsibility once the bank receive the jewelry, then the jewelry were delivered and its price was received.
The flood of generosity of Princess Fatma Ismail was evident in her declaration that she is responsible for the celebration of laying the foundation stone which would have cost the university huge expenses; especially because Khedive Abbas Helmy the second had declared that he would attend the inauguration celebration and Prince Ahmed Fouaad as well. The university's administration had published a statement in all local daily newspapers. It is entitled "Expenses of the Celebration of Laying the Foundation Stone at the University's Location", and this is the text: "Princess Fatma, the daughter of Ismail Pasha, the previous Khedive, ordered that all the expenses of the celebration, which will be held to lay the foundation stone for the university's location, should be spend in sending invitation tickets. The university's administration council expresses thanks, on the mouthpiece of the whole nation, for all these endowments that Princess Fatma spends for the sake of science. May Allah bless her, and reward her".

CU in EGYPT - Quick Facts - Princess Fatma and the University Project