On Friday, June 29, 2012, after successfully achieving their scholastic requirements, more than 140 students, including 125 undergraduates and 19 graduates, proudly received their diplomas from President Haidostian, amidst an atmosphere of applaud and cheer sometimes mixed with moments of high emotion.
Government Minister General PanosManjian represented the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Parliament, and the President of the Council of Ministers. Among the attendees were MPs Jean Oghasabian, HagopPakradounian, Dr. BassemShabb, SebouhKalpakian, Armenian Ambassador AshodKotcharian, in addition to representatives of the Commander of the Army and the chiefs of Internal and General Security, the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon, Rev. SalimSahyouni, Archbishops KeghamKhatcherian and Jean Teyrouzian, former ministers and MPs, clergy, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, relatives and friends.
A celebratory processional march by faculty and graduates, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem, and the Invocation offered by trustee John Sagherian, opened the auspicious 52th commencement exercises.
“I place on your shoulders the heavy load of turning your education into good service, professional and ethical behavior, and forward looking attitude”, said President Haidostian to the class of 2012.
Haidostian considered education as a “promise”, and universities turn that promise into a profession, noting that, “Universities take upon themselves the task of responding to the challenges of the future, more so than governments may succeed in doing.”
After providing fatherly advices to students, such as “becoming instruments of peace, … combining knowledge with self-critical openness,” Haidostian concluded, “The world is hungry for good promises. We are not living in comfortable days. Becoming young professionals who promise what is good, is the best place to start, and God will bless your efforts.”
Keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Salem, Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center and a sought after consultant, lecturer, and politician tackled the current issues in the Arab World, and the Arab Spring. “Spring is about rebirth, and the Arab spring was led by the youth which represent every society’s rebirth,” Salem noted.
Salem emphasizes on the notion of “Change”, urging the graduates to be filled with positive energy and ideals to shape the coming decades.
Among the many crucial advices that he shared with the graduating class of 2012, Salem said, “do not be guided by fear. Anxiety and fear are powerful drugs: kick the habit. Don’t think of yourself as a victim; don’t live in the past, forget insults, forget personal injustices…”
Two students delivered speeches before their classmates.
In her valedictorian address, PaligLadayan, hailed Haigazian as a unique University which “makes you distinctive from thousands of graduates.”“Haigazian provided us a balanced life, between knowledge and individualism”. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, ‘an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”, Ladayan urged her fellow graduates to be grateful to their beloved country Lebanon and serve it at their best.
For her part, NatschaSchellenreflected on one of the greatest virtues “love”. Describing her experience at Haigazian, Schellen had the following expression, “crawling out of the cocoon of shyness into another one, a cocoon of love”.As she goes separate ways with her friends, Schellenconcluded by quoting Khalil Gebran “Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”, to say that love will grow into a force to make the good all around, and the bad and resentment to die at the end into dusts in the winds.
Upon the benediction offered by the President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, Rev. MegrdichKaragoezianto the class of 2012, graduates threw their caps high into the air, as white balloons flew overhead.
Public Relations Director