On Friday, July 1st 2011, Haigazian University proudly graduated 150 students in the First Armenian Evangelical Church courtyard in Beirut.
The ceremony honored 150 students from the faculties of Business Administration and Economics, Humanities, Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences with the BA and BS degrees, including 14 students with the Masters degrees in the faculties of Business Administration and Economics and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Government Minister Panos Manjian represented the President of the Republic, the President of the Council of Ministers and the Speaker of the Parliament. Among the attendees were MP Jean Oghasabian, representing former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, MPs. Dr. Basssem Shabb, Serge Toursarkissian, Sebouh Kalpakian, Armenian Ambassador Ashod Kotcharian, US Public Affairs Officer Ryan Gliha, The USAID Director, Dr. Jim Barnhart, in addition to representatives of the Commander of the Army and the chief of Internal Security, the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon, Rev. Salim Sahyouni, Archbishop Kegham Khatcherian, former ministers and MPs, diplomats, clergy, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, relatives and friends, all in all more than 1,100 guests.
The ceremony started as the 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 focused his word on the need to find stability and balance in the hectic world we live in. Haidostian noted that this was an important message of the university, as Haigazian University “has directly and indirectly taught that balance is a value we should cherish… It is a critical need of life for good judgment and good quality, and it gives both a deep and a wide perspective in life” Haidostian concluded by saying “balance in ones views requires a standpoint, but a standpoint is not only a point. It is a point which helps you stand: today, alone, with others, and tomorrow, in all circumstances.”
The keynote speaker of the ceremony, Michel Goguikian, a successful International Banker and financier of Lebanese - Armenian origins, as well as an avid philanthropist, founder of the Goguikian Foundation, spoke to the Haigazian graduates about his life experiences in South America.
Sharing the important elements that enabled him to succeed, Goguikian stressed the importance of expecting and preparing for adversity and learning to work through it. Moreover, he underscored “the invaluable role of passion” and finding it in all that one does.
Goguikian, who is actively involved in a number of charitable foundations that particularly support higher education, also addressed the importance of giving back to society. “As graduates of one of Lebanon's most prestigious universities, you should not forget your responsibility toward society and moral obligations toward your country,” he concluded.
Following the keynote address, Registrar Anahid Fermanian and Deans Fadi Asrawi and Arda Ekmekji presented the graduates who received their degrees from President Haidostian.
In her valedictorian address In English, Dima Matta, speaking in English, hailed Haigazian as “a refuge, a haven of scholarship and a shelter of fellowship and camaraderie.” She spoke of the challenge to overcome all obstacles through Haigazian’s motto of “truth, freedom and service.” Rather than settling for “a tomorrow filled with ashes,” Matta urged her fellow graduates to actively “dust” the ashes off.
Valedictorian Garo Keurkunian addressed his fellow graduates in Arabic, reflecting on the gifts that Haigazian had given him and all other graduates in preparing them for the life ahead. He expressed his gratitude to Haigazian for providing its students with a most rewarding and well-rounded education, as well as preparing them for the challenges of professional life. Keurkunian concluded with a promise to his country Lebanon, to be faithful and grateful no matter the distances that may separate them.
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 2011 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 and the New Heritage Building gardens and take memorable pictures with their friends and families to commemorate this special day.
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