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Over 500 graduate at Spring 2013 Commencement
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and Founder and President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), highlighted the university's achievements during his address at the Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony of the university held today, June 8, 2013, at University City Hall, Sharjah. Also present on the occasion were Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qassimi Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Salem Al Qassimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development.
Over 500 students graduated in various majors offered by the university at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
"AUS is a beacon of science, intellectual and cultural life, as well as social and athletic activities. The university has offered a lot to you on the academic level, including an advanced curriculum that has been designed by world-class professors. Your achievements are evidence of that," said His Highness.
"One of the most important recent initiatives has been the hosting of the Nobel Laureates Lecture Series wherein laureates are invited to meet with the faculty and students, give lectures and exchange views. The university continues to play a leading role in community services through organizing training courses in cooperation with many institutions in the public and private sectors. In addition to that, AUS is coordinating with many other educational institutions in the country to provide them with the university's full support towards developing their academic performance and in sponsoring distinguished students," said Sheikh Dr. Sultan.
While applauding the Class of Spring 2013, His Highness said, "Today, you have reached the end of your theoretical life and have arrived at the beginning of your practical life. We expect you to exert your best efforts to serve your countries and societies, using what you have learned from us. You are now AUS alumni, and we will continue to support you."
His Highness then thanked the parents of the graduating students. "Now it is time to reap the harvest of your efforts of supporting your children's education. Your joy is our joy. As the president of the university and on behalf of the members of the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude for your efforts and keen interest in raising this distinguished Class of Spring 2013."
His Highness also sent his best wishes to AUS Chancellor Dr. Peter Heath, who is currently in the United States undergoing treatment.
He concluded his speech by thanking Sheikh Nahayan for the efforts he exerted in the past three decades in improving higher education in the country and preserving academic accreditation.
Speaking next was AUS Provost and Acting Chancellor Dr. Thomas John Hochstettler. "I want to direct my comments this morning to our graduates, taking this one last opportunity both to convey to you my tremendous admiration for what you have accomplished thus far in your lives, but also to give you some perspectives on your education and how I hope you use it in the years and decades to come," said Dr. Hochstettler.
"Far better than the rest of us in this great hall this morning, you our graduates know how much you have grown intellectually and emotionally during your time at AUS. You have overcome great obstacles in earning the right to participate in today's festivities. Most often those obstacles have been in the form of tasks that you have had to accomplish, as in examinations and problem sets, essays and projects. But often those obstacles were not external but internal, taking the form of self-doubt and apprehension about whether or not you could achieve the goal of a degree, whether or not you could fulfill your own dream and that of your parents to graduate from university and move into the world either of advanced study or of gainful employment. Overcoming the external obstacles merits our collective congratulations, which we are pleased to offer you today. Overcoming the more formidable barriers to success that we sometimes impose upon ourselves through the fear of failure and the all-too-human dread of looking foolish is even more to be admired. I congratulate you on both accounts."
As his final words of advice, Dr. Hochstettler said, "In closing, please let me take the opportunity to give you one last lesson before you receive your diplomas, and that is the lesson of gratitude. The decisions, the sacrifices, the investment of time and energy of countless individuals who have brought you to this stage today are truly deserving of your thanks. And no one is more deserving than His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi. Your Highness's vision in founding, developing and supporting American University of Sharjah shines like a beacon of hope in a world beset by dissent. We are all in your debt."
The breakdown of the graduates is as follows:
Total number of graduating students: 534
Number of undergraduate students receiving degrees: 456
Number of graduate students receiving degrees: 78
Number of male graduate and undergraduate students: 245
Number of female graduate and undergraduate students: 289 Total number of UAE nationals: 102
A breakdown of the graduating class by college/school is as follows:
College of Architecture, Art and Design: (69 undergraduate and 2 graduate)
College of Arts and Sciences: (68 undergraduate and 8 graduate)
College of Engineering: (187 undergraduate and 48 graduate)
School of Business and Management: (132 undergraduate and 20 graduate)
The student speaker at the ceremony was Fatma Al Tamimi, who said, "It is our duty to uphold the strong values that have been passed on to us by the members of the AUS community. Staying true to our morals and values is important for facing real-world situations. Reminding ourselves about what we've learned throughout our study at AUS will surely guide us to get through whatever challenges that may lie ahead. Right here, right now, we are at the doorstep of a new beginning."
"Each one of us will be faced with many life changing decisions, and it is crucial that we make the ones that best suit us. However, we may not always be so lucky and get it right the first time, and that's okay. If there is one thing that AUS has taught us, it is to persevere. The challenges that we may face include finding a job, pursuing graduate studies, or finding our place in our community. Whether we succeed or fail in taking on these challenges is not as important as not giving up if we do fail and carrying on if we do succeed," added Al Tamimi.
"My fellow graduates, not only should we strive for success by challenging ourselves, but we should look around us and not forget that we are part of a larger picture. It is up to us to carry on the legacy of AUS by becoming contributors to our society. It is our turn to give back whether it is by entering the work force, by continuing our pursuit of education or by using our knowledge to improve society," she concluded.
Sheikh Sultan then honored Fadi Rifai, who was declared the recipient of the President's Cup for achieving the highest grade point average. He also honored Mohammad Omar Hukan, who received the Chancellor's Cup for exhibiting an outstanding combination of academic excellence, general character and service to university. Both students are from the College of Engineering.
In 1997, AUS opened its doors to 285 students who had come to begin their studies with 30 faculty members. Today, the university is a complex of stunning buildings with over 5,300 students and a full-time faculty of more than 350 highly trained men and women.
His Highness was also presented with a painting on behalf of the class of 2013.
The ceremony was also attended by Sheikh Isam Bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Ruler's Office; Sheikh Salem Bin AbdulRehman Bin Salem Al Qassimi, Director of the Ruler's Office; Sheikh Mohammed Bin Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi; Abdul Rehman Bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health; Abdullah Bin Mohammed Ghubash, Minister of State; Mohammed Juma'a Bin Hendi, Chairman of the Sharjah Consultative Council; Rashid Ahmad Bin Alshaikh, Chairman of the Amiri Court; Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dr. Amr Abdel Hamid, Advisor to the Ruler of Sharjah on Higher Education; a number of the members of Sharjah executive and consultative councils; members of the AUS Board of Trustees; faculty and staff; and members of the public.