NU-Q celebrates graduation of the Class of 2016

May 03, 2016

Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) graduates were told to focus on happiness, appreciation, and telling their stories at the university’s fifth graduation ceremony. Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, NU-Q Dean Everette E. Dennis, and BBC journalist Lyse Doucet, OBE, all had messages of encouragement for the graduates.

Schapiro told the graduates that he found it distressing that “only one in three people, when asked if they are happy, answer yes. Students, I want you to think about what makes you happy -- be it your faith, your family or job satisfaction –- or like for most of us, a combination of all three, ensure it is one which contributes more to your life than any material wealth. My wish for you is that in the decades to come when asked if you are happy, you smile and say ‘I absolutely love my life.’”

Dennis told the students that they “reflect the values of this school and richly deserve the congratulations they receive, as one of the most academically accomplished classes that has graduated from NU-Q,” and then asked them to take a moment to think of all of the people that had helped them achieve this success and to show their appreciation by standing and applauding all of those who had supported them and helped them be where they are today.

Doucet, chief international correspondent at the BBC, has reported from the Middle East, including the Arab Spring and the current refugee crisis. “Today,” she told the graduates, “we live in the best of times, and the worst of times. As a society we are more educated and more connected than ever. We are able to dream, and dream big. But we are also living in a time where wars are dragging on longer than ever, and as a result we face the biggest global refugee crisis since the Second World War, where people your own age are having their dreams shattered. This crisis may seem worlds apart, but it is part of our world. When I speak to these children, who have been separated from their families, and are unlikely to ever return home, they all share the same dream as you –- to study, and to achieve something with their lives.”

Doucet continued: “These are the times that bring out the best in us, and the worst in us. Unlike these young people, you have been given a chance. Whether you choose to pursue journalism, marketing or communications, tell the story and tell it well. Tell it with passion; tell it with empathy; tell it with all the skills you have learned here at NU-Q. Be bold; be brilliant; be the best that you can be, and the better you become, the better the world will be.”

Students from this year’s class represent 14 countries and are fluent in nine languages, a true representation of NU-Q’s multicultural community.

Alya Al Harthy, communications senior from NU-Q and the chosen 2016 student speaker, told her fellow classmates and the friends and family gathered for the ceremony that “our studies at NU-Q have taught us the skills we need to connect people and change perspectives. We have made a choice to dedicate our lives to telling stories, changing perspectives on the world and bridging gaps of humanity. Class of 2016: in striving to change the world, we must attempt to change how people see it.”

Ten of this year’s class of students graduated with academic honors, each of whom has made the Dean’s List between five and seven times during their academic career with NU-Q.

The following students achieved awards of note, including:

  • Dean’s Award: James Copplestone Farmer
  • Student Leadership Award: Youmna Al-Gailey
  • Communication Award: Syed Owais Ali
  • Journalism Award: Ralph Martins
  • Liberal Arts Award: Tamador Al Sulaiti

This year, the University Alma Mater was sung by Ruba Nabeel Shaath.

The Dean also extended his thanks and gratitude on behalf of all of NU-Q, to the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development for its support to the university and its students.