The American University in Cairo (AUC) held its midyear graduation commencement ceremonies yesterday that witnessed the graduation of 528 bachelor’s degree candidates, of whom 80 graduated with honors, 75 with high honors and 69 with highest honors. Master’s degrees were awarded to 201 candidates at the graduate commencement and three students received a doctorate degree. The commencement ceremonies featured two keynote speakers, Ali Faramawy, AUC trustee and corporate vice president of Microsoft, spoke at the graduate ceremony, while Ayman Asfari, group chief executive of Petrofac, delivered remarks at the undergraduate ceremony. AUC president Francis Ricciardone addressed the undergraduates students, saying AUC is proud to host a leader who has both risen to the top of his field and selflessly uplifted those in need. “I know our graduates, and all of us, will draw inspiration from Mr. Asfari’s distinguished career and his and Ms. Sawsan’s lifetime dedication to the service to others,” he said.
Asfari, who was born in Syria to a middle class professional family and worked his way up and eventually became a central figure in establishing Petrofac International, addressed the undergraduate ceremony reflecting on his own experiences and the importance of perseverance. “We passionately believe that future sustained order in the region that will tap its true potential will only be underpinned by strong education, rule of law and civic institutions,” said Asfari.
He shared with the graduating class pieces of advice, saying that “you may try a few things that might not work for you but once set on a course, focus, because you can’t be everything for everyone.” He also advised students to let excellence and delivery be their motto and not to settle for being average, to know their strengths and weakness and accept that failing and making mistakes is part of the learning process and not to compromise their values for short terms gains, “the values that you learned from your family and great institutions like AUC.”
Ricciardone remarked at the graduate ceremony, that at AUC, “we strive to educate generations of young, creative, and innovative entrepreneurs who are not afraid to take risks.” He introduced Faramawy, saying he embodies these ideals and stands as an example of our highest hopes for AUC graduates.
Faramawy, who has had a distinguished career in the IT industry, congratulated the graduates and emphasized the diversity of the graduating class in gender and across disciplines. He added that, with graduates as accomplished as these, Egypt will always remain a prosperous and successful country. “Our country will always be rich as long as we have people like you. It is a true honor and privilege to be here talking to you,” said Faramawy to the graduates, “our worlds needs leaders, our worlds needs change, our worlds needs change agents. You can do a lot by connecting, understanding, helping and contributing to others. You can help provide clarity and generate positive energy and help make great things happen.”
Distinguished students at the undergraduate commencement were recognized for their achievements. At the undergraduate commencement ceremony, The President’s Cup and the Mohamed EL Beleidy Academic Award were given to the student who rank highest in the graduating class, was presented to Ola Gamal Elsaid, who studied mechanical engineering.
Radwa Hamed Mohamed, who majored in computer engineering and electronics and communications engineering, received both The Parents Association Cup, presented to a student who has demonstrated unusual capability in blending academic achievement with a major contribution to student activities and the Nadia Younes Award for Public and Humanitarian Service. The Omar Mohsen Athletic Achievement cup was presented to Roshdy Khaled Roshdy, petroleum engineering graduate.
Other awards included the Ahmed El Mehallawi Family Award that was given to Basma Mohamed Zaki, an accounting major student and the Student Government Cup was given to Saamer Mohamed Salem, who majored in petroleum engineering and Hashim Ibrahim Ibrahim, who majored in business administration and accounting.
In addition, the Dr. Ahmed Abdel Rahman El Sawy award, presented to the student with the highest grade point average in the engineering department who has been a Public School Scholarship recipient, was given to Amr Youssef Osman, who studied electronics and communication engineering.
Among the student awards distributed at yesterday’s midyear commencement ceremony was the first annual Valerie Farag Music Award, presented to Mohamed Basiouny Abou Qersh, mechanical engineering and music technology student. In memory of the late AUC professor, Valerie Farag, her husband and family created two awards in her name to be presented to a music student each semester who demonstrates outstanding musical achievements.