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Sharjah Ruler praises American University of Sharjah’s progress at Fall 2013 commencement ceremony
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) expressed his pride in the university in launching the Master of Science in Accounting degree program, the first of its kind in the UAE, while addressing the Fall 2013 commencement ceremony of the university held today, January 25, 2014, at University City Hall, Sharjah. The ceremony had 516 students graduating in various majors offered by the university at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The ceremony was also attended by His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.
Sheikh Sultan congratulated the students, their parents and the entire community of AUS, and praised the university's recent advancements. "I would like to congratulate your university, which celebrates you today, because you, my dear sons and daughters, are an integral part of its mission towards excellence and leadership," said His Highness. His Highness also mentioned the new Master of Science in Accounting program at AUS. "This fall semester, AUS launched its Master of Science in Accounting degree program. The first of its kind in the UAE, this program can be integrated with the AUS Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) program in accounting so that students can complete the BSBA and the MSA in five years of continuous study," said His Highness.
Sheikh Dr. Sultan also demonstrated his delight with AUS's expanding list of achievements, which vary from new partnerships with globally esteemed institutions, to accreditations by the most prestigious academic boards and associations around the world. "American University of Sharjah has been taking steady steps towards advancement in higher education. These steps awarded AUS its local and international accreditation," said His Highness.
"This university also continues to execute its plan to build a strong network with other globally distinguished higher education institutions with which it will exchange experience in education, research and development. It was satisfying for me to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between American University of Sharjah and University of Paris II to establish an academic companionship especially in the fields of law, international security studies, economics, political science, information and telecommunications," he added.
His Highness also mentioned AUS's key achievements over the past six months. "American University of Sharjah does not cease to succeed in all possible fields. It has recently risen in one of the world's most trusted university rankings, to the 440 range. AUS is one of the very few universities in the Middle East and North Africa region featured in this ranking system," he said.
"We congratulate you and your parents, and we encourage you to continue your successful academic journey, and to be good and constructive citizens in your societies. We wish you success in building a promising future for yourselves and your nations. Proceed in your lives, holding the torch of knowledge for the good of society," said His Highness in conclusion.
Also present at the ceremony were Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Central Finance Department; Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdullah Al Qassimi, Chairman of Seaports and Customs Authority; Sheikh Salem Bin Abdul Rahman Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Ruler's Office; and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Statistics and Social Development Department. Also present were Rashid Ahmed Bin Alshaikh, Chairman of the Amiri Court; General Khamis Al Mazeina, General Commander of Dubai Police; Mohammed Diab Al Mousa, Advisor at the Amiri Court; Dr. Amr Abdel Hamid, Advisor to His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah for Higher Education Affairs; a number of members of the executive and consultative councils of the emirate of Sharjah; members of the AUS Board of Trustees; vice-chancellors; and other senior university officials, as well as members of the media and the public.
AUS Acting Chancellor Dr. Thomas Hochstettler also applauded the graduates. "In a few moments, our graduates will come down from those risers behind me and walk individually and proudly across this stage to receive their diplomas from the hands of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah," said Dr. Hochstettler. He also stressed on the relevance of this event as their transition into a life of independence where responsibilities become heavier. "In that moment, they will cease to be our students and move into a new and challenging phase of their lives. It is a moment of great symbolic importance for them and for the entire AUS community, and it marks for them a liminal moment of commencement, of entry into life beyond the safe haven of our beloved university," said Dr. Hochstettler.
In his speech, the Acting Chancellor also reminded the students of the good habits they acquired at AUS, and advised them to utilize these habits for their progress in life. "As you go forth from this place today and as the memory of this congratulatory celebration grows dim in the coming years, I would suggest that you pause now and again and ponder the importance of the good habits that we have tried to instill in you during your study years at AUS. The habit of hard work, the habit of social engagement, the habit of critical thought: these are the legacy that we leave with you today. Cultivate these habits, and practice them every day as you go forward, and your life will be one rich with purpose and in all ways fulfilling," said Dr. Hochstettler.
The breakdown of the graduates is as follows: Total number of graduating students: 516 Number of undergraduate students receiving degrees: 455 Number of graduate students receiving degrees: 61 Number of male graduate and undergraduate students: 290 Number of female graduate and undergraduate students: 226 Total number of UAE nationals: 111
A breakdown of the graduating class by college/school is as follows: College of Architecture, Art and Design: 25 undergraduate and 5 graduate College of Arts and Sciences: 68 undergraduate and 9 graduate College of Engineering: 211 undergraduate and 37 graduate School of Business and Management: 151 undergraduate and 10 graduate
The student speaker at the ceremony was Adi Al Fardan, graduating with a degree in finance, who talked about the challenges that humanity has always faced and how it is now up to the graduates to combat these challenges and push forward in their lives. "Someone just like us, in the last thousand years graduating in Europe or wherever, had the same sort of issues to face as we do," said Al Fardan. He reminded his colleagues that the issue they should be concerned with the most is how to find answers to the common issues. "The challenges we graduates face are always the same, but each year the answer to how we approach and deal with our challenges will be different. So one question we might ask about tomorrow is how should we deal with a tough economy and job market, or how should we get ready for more school if we plan to continue in graduate school?"
Al Fardan also thanked everyone who helped the students during their study at the university. "On graduation day, we realize that we have so many individuals to thank who have helped us develop the mental strength to push forward in our lives and careers. But as we gather today, we thank them as a whole, for indeed the university is one body," said Al Fardan. "But everything we have accomplished today, all of our preparation, and all of our memories of AUS, are the result of the hard work and vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi. Sheikh Sultan deserves our gratitude for opening this university 16 years ago so that AUS students would be able to push open the doors of opportunity," he added.
Al Fardan concluded his speech with a reminder to his classmates on the importance of determination in life and kindness to other people. "Despite the challenges that we will face, we, the graduating Class of Fall 2013, stand at the doors of opportunity, ready to push. We will have gratitude in our hearts for the people who have prepared us, and we will put our trust in Allah while we push open the doors of opportunity."
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 6,000 students and a full-time faculty of more than 350 highly trained men and women.