The American University in Cairo (AUC) held yesterday its midyear graduation commencement ceremonies that witnessed the graduation of 523 bachelor’s degree candidates, of whom 84 graduated with honors, 79 with high honors and 65 with highest honors. Master’s degrees were awarded to 197 candidates at the graduate commencement and two students received a doctorate degree. The ceremonies also witnessed the graduation of 33 international students. The commencement ceremonies featured two keynote speakers, Sahar Nasr ’85, ’90, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, who spoke at the graduate commencement, and Naguib Sawiris, executive chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding and chairman of Orascom TMT Investments, who addressed undergraduates at their commencement. Welcoming the undergraduate key note speaker, AUC President Francis Ricciardone said, “Through his leadership in a wide range of business ventures and civic engagements, Naguib Sawiris has established himself both nationally and globally as a public figure of extraordinary impact and influence, not least on Egypt’s economic and social development.”
Ricciardone, said “I am very pleased to announce Engineer Sawiris’ latest contribution to the vitality and global appeal of Cairo,” announcing that, “Naguib Sawiris and AUC have established a new partnership to revitalize our original downtown campus as a Center for the Arts and Culture.” The inauguration of the Center is expected to be part of the celebrations of AUC’s coming centennial.
In his speech, Sawiris addressed the students saying, “You are graduating in the right time,” highlighting how the economy in Egypt is heading right now for a very strong start.” He also said, “We are very grateful to AUC because most of our working force have come from this University and they have contributed to our success.”
He shared with the graduating class pieces of advice, “Honesty pays, be fair, true to your principles. Don’t cut corners, if you think something is wrong, don’t do it. Trust God and believe in him, he will always be on your side. If you believe in him, he will believe in you.”
He shared his secrets of success as well, saying, “don’t accept no for an answer, be hardheaded, be innovative. People will put obstacles in your way and it is all up to you. There is always a way at the end.” In his concluding remarks, he told the students, “You have a big responsibility, this is the most beautiful country in the world and it needs you.”
In welcoming Minister Nasr, at the graduate commencement ceremony, Ricciardone said, “If most Egyptians today think of Dr. Nasr as a national leader, and others all around the world recognize her as a leading contemporary economist, we at AUC think of her first and foremost as an educator of global stature -- and, as a daughter of AUC.” Ricciardone also said, “We are especially grateful for her current service as a professor of economics at AUC.” He also said, that far beyond even her decisions as Minister of a great country, her academic research has influenced the development of economic policies in many developing countries and emerging markets, including Egypt.
“Thirty years after my graduation from this esteemed institution where I've learnt a lot,” Nasr said at the ceremony, “I'm continuing to learn every day, learning from my students, I do that every time I go to my class, some of whom are graduating today and I'm very proud of all the learning from my peers, from my family members, from my children, learning from my experiences, the good and the bad,” she said, “Keep learning, keep striving to do better for yourself and for the world you live for.”
In her speech, she stressed that nothing pays off as much perseverance, determination and commitment. “There is no substitute for hard work, never give up. Never stop being grateful, grateful for your success as well as your failures. Always work on the ultimate goal of serving others, that is the most rewarding goal in life and always strive to make your home, your workplace, your country a better place.”
Distinguished students at the undergraduate commencement were recognized for their achievements. The President’s Cup and the Mohamed EL Beleidy Academic Award were given to Haidy Saher Rizkalla and Helen Saher Rizkalla, who ranked highest in the graduating class and who studied construction engineering.
The Nadia Younes Award for Public and Humanitarian Service was awarded to Omar Hassan Zaky. The Omar Mohsen Athletic Achievement cup was presented to Mohamed Mohab Morsi, a decorated swimmer both nationally and internationally, who studied mechanical engineering.
Other awards included the Ahmed El Mehallawi Family Award that was given to Nada Hafez Sharaf Eldin. The Parents Association Cup was presented to Mohamed Nabil Heggi, who studied petroleum engineering. Students Ahmed Khaled Etman and Rana Khaled Morsy were awarded the student Government Cup. Abdelrahman Ahmed Baheyeldin and Ahmed Hosam Refai received the Valerie Farag Music Award.
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 awarded to Mark Sameh Tadros.