On Friday, July 2nd 2010, Haigazian University proudly graduated 160 students in the First Armenian Evangelical Church courtyard in Beirut.
The ceremony honored 160 students from the faculties of Business Administration and Economics, Humanities, Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences with the BA and BS degrees, including 19 students with the Masters degrees in the faculties of Business Administration and Economics and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Member of Parliament Serge Toursarkissian represented the President of the Republic, the President of the Council of Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament. Among the attendees were Minister Jean Oghassabian, MPs. Walid Jumblat and Dr. Basssem Shabb, in addition to representatives of the Commander of the Army and the chief of Internal Security, the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangeliacl Community in Syria nad Lebanon, Rev. Salim Sahyouni, Previous ministers and MPs, University representatives, diplomats, clergy, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, relatives and friends.
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
The university President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian addressed the audience first in Arabic, then in Armenian and finally in English, emphasizing the “multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-national and multi-disciplinary life” of Haigazian University in its 55 years of service. Addressing this need to serve, Haidostian promoted “the renewal of our will to not only live but to serve, serve all people without discrimination, to celebrate the fact that Lebanon is a country of service.” The university has “flourished in a rather intimate family atmosphere with really limited resources,” Haidostian noted.
The keynote speaker of the ceremony, Dr. Alan Strachan, a psychotherapist as well as the youngest grandchild of Armenag Haigazian, the namesake of the university, who was specially invited for the 55th Anniversary of the University, began his speech by congratulating the graduating class. “Earning a college degree is a very significant rite of passage, the product of many years and countless hours of diligence, and you should all be proud of yourselves,” Strachan said.
Strachan gave a moving and inspirational speech about the life and legacy of his honorable grandfather, Armenag Haigazian, who was a beloved educator and family man and tragically suffered and died in Turkey in 1921. Strachan placed emphasis on the values of love and care that Haigazian propagated, which are reflected in the principles of the university. Referring to the personal loss in his family, Strachan added “my family story echoes our shared human story – the story of making the best of difficult and sometimes tragic circumstances, of trying to find meaning, freedom, peace and love in a world that does not easily offer these gifts.”
Strachan concluded with some words of wisdom for the graduates, urging them to express love for the people in their lives, find their unique paths or “golden threads” to follow, learn to forgive and finally pursue education throughout their lives. “An educated mind is very, very beautiful, but it works best when guided by the wisdom that only your heart can provide” he said.
After this speech, Registrar Anahid Fermanian and Deans Fadi Asrawi and Arda Ekmekji presented the graduates who received their degrees from President Haidostian.
In his valedictorian address, Jean Baghboudarian, speaking in English, reflected on the gifts that Haigazian had given him and every other graduate in preparing them for the life ahead. He urged his fellow graduates to remember that success is “not something we must wait for, but something we have to work to achieve.” Baghboudarian concluded with words of appreciation for the university president, faculty and staff, the parents of the graduates and God. Valedictorian Sandra Hallal addressed her fellow graduates in Arabic, saying that today the graduating class is saying farewell to hard work and is celebrating a moment of success and transition. Hallal also thanked the University administration for proving the best means available for their well-rounded education, and preparing them for the challenges of professional life.
After singing the Alma Mater, the ceremony ended with the Benediction given by the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in The Near East, Rev. Megrdich Karagoezian.
The class of 2010 threw their caps high into the air as blue and orange balloons flew overhead. The graduates then walked proudly out with the recessional “Trumpet Tune” by Henry Purcell, eager to move to the Mugar garden and take memorable pictures with their friends and families to commemorate this special day.
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