Carry gratitude in your hearts, Sheikha Bodour tells fresh American University of Sharjah graduates - GulfToday

Carry gratitude in your hearts, Sheikha Bodour tells fresh American University of Sharjah graduates

Sheikha Bodour honours a graduate.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Set against the backdrop of academic achievement and the promise of new beginnings, the American University of Sharjah’s (AUS) much-anticipated Fall 2023 commencement ceremony held on December 9 celebrated a life-changing journey marking the resilience and determination of the 488-member graduating class.

Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of AUS, conferred the degrees on graduate and undergraduate students at University City Hall in Sharjah, and celebrated with proud parents and friends who gathered to witness the culmination of these academic pursuits, cheering on their graduates as they stepped onto the stage to receive their well-earned diplomas.

She said: ‘This is a proud day, but it’s also a grateful one. Because not only is graduation deserved recognition for years of commitment to a major life goal — it’s also the start of a bigger project: the rest of one’s life. For that reason, I implore our outgoing students to hold gratitude in their hearts as they stride out into the world.

They can feel thankful for what they have achieved at AUS, and thankful for the doors that will now open. I am extremely proud of our students, but I’m equally grateful for the energy, hard work, and passion they bring to bear every day.’ The Fall 2023 commencement ceremony is the first AUS graduation event Dr. Tod A. Laursen has taken part in since his appointment as Chancellor of AUS.

 Sheikha Bodour during the university’s Fall 2023 commencement ceremony.

In his remarks, he said: “We seek to prepare graduates of AUS for the roles they will plan in caring for our communities (both local and global), and to prepare them for ethical leadership rooted not only in a deep understanding of a scholarly area, but also a practical understanding of that knowledge’s use and implications in the broader world.

Whether we speak of the violent conflicts around the world that distress us all, or deficits in food, water and shelter caused by inequities and migration challenges, or the climate strains we are increasingly experiencing with each passing year, we can find examples where literally millions of people are dependent on skilful, fair informed and ethical leadership. Rather than despairing in our collective shortcomings as a society, I find great hope in you, our graduates, the leaders of tomorrow.

Your energy, your knowledge, your compassion and your sense of right and wrong have been amply demonstrated during your time in AUS, and I have no doubt that you will serve as points of light as you make your way from here out into the world.” He added: “AUS, for its part, will be committed to further enhancing its academic programmes, its scholarship and its societal contributions through research and thought leadership. We are excited about our future, and we will continue to serve you as proud alums.

 Dr. Tod A. Laursen, Chancellor of AUS, addresses the gathering.

We will continue to innovate in the development of new degree programmes, with recent additions at every degree level and with more planned for the future. We are committed to impactful research happening across AUS. The AUS Board of Trustees recently approved our first three university-wide research centres, and more are on the way, and with all this development, our commitment to the two pillars of AUS – the liberal education from which all students benefit and the commitment to the totality of the student experience – will remain a distinctive feature of all we do.”

Guest and keynote speaker Michael Haddad, Goodwill Ambassador for Climate Action, Regional Bureau for Arab States – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), also known as a medical wonder, social entrepreneur and professional athlete, addressed the graduating Class of Fall 2023. Student speaker and design management major Maryam Alfalasi reflected on the shared student experience at AUS, noting that by embracing diversity in the close-knit AUS family, “differences turned into bridges that quickly formed a supportive community. We learned the values of commitment, dedication and integrity.”

She added: “Today, we embark on a milestone in our lives… [marking] the start of a bright future ahead of us. The strength carried by the people of AUS resonates with the power of the ripple effect concept. Whether you are aware of it or not, each of you possesses this power. Think of it this way: with every kind word you say and every hand you lend, you inspire, you heal and you uplift the people around you, resulting in countless ripples with endless impact. The ripples you create can travel far and wide with everyone you encounter. Everyone present here today can create ripple effects of positive impact.

Never underestimate the profound power within your actions; even one inch of goodness can turn into a mile that touches many lives along the way.” Among the graduating students is proud AUSer and biology major Tala Terr, who was reminiscent of her time at AUS, saying that while the journey was filled with many challenges, it was also abundant with growth opportunities that have shaped her into who she is today.

“This is not the end of the journey, but just the beginning. AUS did not only provide me with an excellent education, but also granted me a safe and friendly environment where I could get out of my comfort zone and grow endlessly, academically and personally,” she said.

The breakdown of the Class of Fall 2023 is as follows:

Total graduating students: 488

Undergraduate students receiving degrees: 429

Graduate students receiving degrees: 59

Male graduates: 232

Female graduates: 256

UAE nationals graduating: 143

A breakdown of the graduating class by college/school is as follows:

College of Architecture, Art and Design: 27 undergraduates and 6 graduates College of Arts and Sciences: 79 undergraduates and 8 graduates College of Engineering: 215 undergraduates and 28 graduates School of Business Administration: 108 undergraduates and 17 graduates

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