The American University in Cairo (AUC) held its midyear graduation commencement ceremonies that witnessed the graduation of 430 bachelor’s degree candidates, of whom 56 graduated with honors, 61 with high honors and 62 with highest honors. Master’s degrees were awarded to 205 candidates at the graduate commencement and one student received a doctorate degree. The commencement also saw the first 20 undergraduate students to graduate from AUC's graphic design major and the first student to graduate from AUC's graduate Educational Leadership Program as well as the graduation of 21 international undergraduates and 30 graduates. Azza Fahmy, the renowned jewelry designer, was the undergraduate keynote speaker and recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts. AUC alumna Nadia Wassef ’94, ’96 and alumna Hind Wassef ’92, ’95, co-founders of Diwan bookstore, were the graduate commencement speakers.AUC President Thomas E. Thomason addressed the students saying, “The faculty of The American University in Cairo believes that each candidate is qualified to commence the life of an educated man or woman. In addition, we are confident that the students graduating today will be a credit to themselves and to their families, a service to their country, and a continuing source of pride to The American University in Cairo.”
In his introduction to Fahmy, Thomason described her as one of the most successful and innovative Egyptian designers of all time. “She has been a distinguished ambassador of Egyptian culture and arts, as well as one of Egypt’s most influential women,” he said.
The renowned jewelry designer Fahmy shared eight life lessons with the graduating class. “Find your passion and purpose in life. Everything I did, I did with passion, so find yours; Believe in yourself despite all odds; You don’t need a big capital to start your business, what you need is only dedication not money; Be patient and don’t stop learning, we all have to start somewhere and keep dreaming, your dream will get bigger but so are your challenges. Take every challenge as an opportunity to learn to trust and empower others, this is the only way you can achieve more; Once you find your purpose develop it and never lose it; Innovate and don’t follow; Give back and make changes; Don’t be afraid to fail, there is a Chinese proverb that says: it is only but our 1,000 times to fail. Everything that I have done has led me to where I am now.”
At the graduate commencement, the Wassef sisters explained how AUC helped them develop a life-long love of reading and learning and the importance of pursing ambitions. “Failure is only a failure if you don’t manage to avoid learning from it, said Nadia Wassef, “there is one thing worse than giving up on a dream and that is not having one. I had many dreams and I am lucky to have realized one of them. We have to be open to learning and the only way to do that is by making learning a habit.” Wassef urged the graduating student to remember those who have inspired them whether in daily life, books, films and why they inspired them and pointed out that people who have disappointed them also deserve memory.
On the other hand, Hind Wassef advised students to develop their own imagination and to never stop exploring who they are or who they can be. “So many things are waiting to happen to you as you exit this room today. I urge you to be few things: be humble, everyone is equally weaving the tapestry of their lives and there is a lot to be learned from everyone. Value criticism and opposition more than praise, most of the time praise is simply flattery and the easy thing to say. Make choices and take responsibility for their outcome, never duck out of the decision, and above all read, read history, philosophy and literature. Be aware that you are yet another extension of so many lives and dreams that have come before you and make it one to be proud of.”
The President’s Cup, given to those who rank highest in the graduating class, was presented to five students who all earned a 4.0 GPA: Sarah Ali Mahmoud Bahgat, Economics; Seif Eldeen Omar Ibrahim Ali Eteifa, Construction Engineering; Omar Abdelrahman Ismail Makhlouf, Electronics & Communications Engineering; Mirna Maher Metias, Business Administration, and Ahmed Samir Eid, Mechanical Engineering.
The Parents Association Cup, presented to a student who has demonstrated unusual capability in blending academic achievement with a major contribution to student activities, was awarded to Youssef Mohyeldin, a business administration major, whereas Nour El Tayeb, an economics major and internationally recognized squash player, received the Omar Mohsen Athletic Achievement Cup.
Other awards included the Ahmed El Mehallawi Family Award that was given to Laila Saleh Seif El Din; Nadia Younes Award for Public and Humanitarian Service was given to Habiba Ahmed ElKharbotly and Maha AbdelAzim and the Student Government Cup was given to Mohamed Alaa El Deen Mustafa and Basem El Koury. In addition, the Dr. Ahmed Abdel Rahman El Sawy award was presented to Mazen Mohamed Sadek and the Samiha El Barkouky Award in Egyptology was presented to Sara Abdel Aziz.
President Thomason concluded his remarks to the undergraduate students saying, “Redeem the investment we have made in you, and you will build a peaceful, prosperous, just and sustainable world. We wish you the best of everything.”