Haigazian University Jubilee Commencement Ceremonies
Oskanian: The Jubilee class has much to give to Lebanon and Armenia
On Friday, July the 1st, 2005, Haigazian University graduated a record number of 121 students, in the grandiose "Pavillon Royal" hall, of the Biel center in Beirut.
The ceremony honored 108 students from the faculties of Business Administration and Economics, Humanities, Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences with the BA and BS degrees, and 13 students with the Masters degree.
Among the 1500 invitees, were present Minister of Energy, Bassam Yammine representing the President of the Republic, Minister of Health, Mohammad Jawad Khalife representing the Prime Minister, and MP. Hagop Pakradouni presenting the House Speaker, in addition to a number of deputies, former ministers, university presidents, diplomats, guests from Armenia, Canada, Iran, Cyprus and Syria, and members of the Board of Trustees who came specially from the USA, to take part in the central celebrations of the 50th Anniversary.
The ceremony started as Faculty and Graduates marched through the crowd of parents, relatives and friends in a remarkable processional march "Tannhauser" played live by the Beirut Chamber Orchestra with Maestro Harout Fazlian.
Everyone was standing for the National Anthem, sung live by the "Armiss" Choir, accompanied by the Orchestra, followed by the Invocation by Rev. Nishan Bakalian.
President Haidostian welcomed the audience and acknowledged the special guests on the stage. In his trilingual speech, Haidostian explained the very purpose of the founding of Haigazian University 50 years earlier.
"In this ceremony, we have the special privilege of honoring our special role in this world. Having been born just a few decades after the Armenian Genocide as a resilient institutional response to death and dispersement, I stand in awe before the memory of a million and a half martyrs of our nation, among whom Armenag Haigazian himself.
As faithful descendants of a victimized nation, our parents and grandparents chose life, and with hope they built all that they could in Armenian, the Near East, the USA and elsewhere. An Armenian population (and within it the Armenian Evangelical Church) that prided itself in dozens of institutions of higher learning in our Cilician Armenian homeland less than a century ago, today witnesses the increasing pride in this one Armenian owned university in the Diaspora. Haigazian University stands not like an orphan, however, but as a living monument, as a memorial fountain of life.
Through God's grace we exist.
Haigazian, therefore, enjoys the heavy and joyful responsibility of representing the best that Armenian identity could bring to the whole Diaspora", noted Haidostian.
As to the Lebanese heritage, Haidostian pointed out that "the rich heritage of Lebanon, its diverse communal life, its openness to the world, and its bridging character of antiquity and modernity have made the Haigazian reality possible".
Finally, Haidostian concluded, "let history record, Haigazian University has brought the Armenians to the heights of life, in lands of Arab humanity, with values of American education".
Many people took part in the ceremony, delivering their greetings:
Founding President of Haigazian University, Dr. John Markarian advised the graduates that the real challenge is for life and not for death.
The President of the Yervan State University, Dr. Radig Mardirossian, praised Haigazian for offering to the communities of the world hundreds of teachers, psychologists, public servants and many other specialists in different fields. He noted also the university's role in preserving the Armenian identity, education and culture, and he concluded that Haigazian University has succeeded to become a pivotal center of learning and education in the region.
In his turn, the Director General of Higher Education, Dr. Ahmad Al Jammal, representing the Minister of Education and Higher Learning, congratulated the fresh graduates, and stressed on the role Haigazian University has always played in investing in and building the ideal human being, socially, morally and intellectually. He advised the university to always keep track with novelties and technology, in order to retain the reputable place it has acquired through the past fifty years.
The jubilee year's distinguished guest speaker, was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Vartan Oskanian, who was granted by the shield of service from President Haidostian, for his services to Armenia and the Diaspora.
In his speech, Oskanian eloquently presented the commonalities of the two great countries, Lebanon and Armenia. Historically, Armenia has suffered from wars, genocide and deportation, just as Lebanon has reached its present state after so many wars and political instabilities. He discussed the plurality, multiculturism, and openness of Lebanon, these particularities that make this country so different among its neighbours, and enable it to be as hospitable as it was 90 years ago when it embraced the Armenians after the Genocide.
To the graduates, Oskanian asked them to eagerly participate in the rebuilding of Lebanon, yet not forgetting their mother land Armenia, thus being a partner in the mutual prosperity of the two countries.
Finally, Oskanian congratulated Haigazian University and wished it long years of service.
After a choral and orchestral interlude, "The Spacious Firmament on High", Registrar Mrs. Roubina Artinian and Deans Dr. Fadi Asrawi and Dr. Arda Ekmekji presented the graduates to receive their degrees from President Haidostian, joined by Minister Oskanian.
In their valedictorian addresses, Cynthia Hanna, speaking in English, thanked everyone in the university who helped the students to reach their current status, and Kevork Kevorkian, speaking in Arabic, said that this university has taught him to accept others? differences and to be led by faith and positive thinking.
After singing the Alma Mater, the ceremony was concluded with the Benediction given by the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. Meguerdich Karageozian.
The Jubilee class of 2005, threw their caps and walked heads high with a unique recessional, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee", also played by the orchestra and the Armiss Choir, conducted by Maestro Harout Fazlian.
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