Haigazian University’s 49th Commencement Exercises
On Saturday, July the 4th, 2008, Haigazian University graduated 141 students, in the First Armenian Evangelical Church courtyard, Beirut.
The ceremony honored 133 students from the faculties of Business Administration and Economics, Humanities, Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences with the BA and BS degrees, and 8 students with the Masters degree.
Among the 1200 invitees were Minister Jean Oghasabian, representing the President of the Republic, MP Hagop Pakradounian representing the Speaker of the Parliament, and MP Dr. Bassem Shabb, representing the appointed Prime Minister, in addition to the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon, Rev. Salim Sahyouni, the Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon, H.E. Roupen Kharazian, the Minister of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Rev. Joe Matossian, the Mission Director of United States Agency for International Development, Mrs. Denise Herbol, previous members of parliament and ministers, university representatives, diplomats, clergy, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, relatives, and fellow students.
The ceremony started as Faculty and Graduates marched through the crowd of parents, relatives and friends to the celebratory processional march “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem, and the Invocation by the Campus Minister, Rev. W. Gregory Lee-Parker.
In his trilingual speech, University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian talked about Beirut, as it carries the title of Book Capital of the World, and stressed on its role to be one of the capitals of education in the world. “While books and schools, universities and homes, web space and portals act as agents and media of education in general, good education is where values, relationships, ideas, needs, and technique will meet. Some of these independently lead to wider knowledge, but all of these together lead into deeper knowledge. All university education, therefore, is a challenge to balance these ingredients of good education,” Haidostian said.
The keynote speaker of the ceremony, Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Me. Ziyad Baroud talked about the knowledge and skills acquired at Haigazian University. He explained that the first type of knowledge will enhance graduates’ career choices, whereas the second type of knowledge relates to the general skills acquired through the liberal education; this will make graduates open to new ideas, have critical thinking, respect the differences in community, and initiate them to art and foreign cultures.
Baroud reiterated the fact that the education provided by Haigazian University will give the graduates the sense of how they, as Lebanese, relate to the rest of the world and the planet. “Your concern for human rights, the environment, health, justice, world heritage, democracy and peace are no longer limited to Lebanon but to all corners of the world and to the many issues that affect our lives and will likely shape our future and your children’s future’, Baroud noted. Afterwards, Registrar Roubina Artinian and Deans Fadi Asrawi and Arda Ekmekji presented the graduates who received their degrees from President Haidostian.
In their valedictorian addresses, Kamal Al Itani, speaking in English, considered the commencement day as the beginning of a new phase in life. The beginning of countless decisions to make, to build bridges instead of walls, and to realize that diversity is to be cherished and respected. On this most anticipated of days, Al Itani invited his fellow graduates to create a goal for themselves, and said, “Let us take inspiration where we find it and in return use our education to inspire other generations of respectful, grateful, and charitable individual.” Whereas valedictorian Araz Ladayan, speaking in Arabic, asked her fellow graduates to implement all of the values learned at Haigazian University, and always be advocates of truth freedom and service.
After singing the Alma Mater, the ceremony concluded with the Benediction given by the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. Meguerdich Karageozian.
The class of 2009, threw their caps and walked with their heads held high while the recessional, “Trumpet Tune in C”, by Henry Purcell, played and celebratory balloons flew high into the skies.
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