“Every Pakistani has a right to dream and aspire big… we are gathered today to celebrate your future,” Lahore University of Management and Science (LUMS) Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Adil Najam told its 24th annual convocation on Saturday.
The convocation, LUM’s largest with 713 graduates, was hosted at the Syed Maratib Ali Sports Complex. A total of 225 students were awarded Master’s degrees in various disciplines including economics, computer science, computer engineering and business administration.
More than 400 students were awarded undergraduate degrees from the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB), the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (SHSSL) and the School of Science and Engineering (SSE), whose first batch graduated this year.
The venue echoed with applause as graduating students rose to give a standing ovation to their parents and teachers on the VC’s request.
“Today we give back to you the future of Pakistan. It was your amaanat (trust),” Dr Najam said. He said that LUMS awarding Rs340 million financial assistance to more than 40 per cent of its students. He said that 10 per cent of the students were enrolled in the National Outreach Programme (NOP), which selects students on merit after determining economic need.
Abdul Razzak Dawood, the rector, said that the Gurmani family had donated Rs1 billion, the largest single donation in Pakistan to an educational institute so far, to the National Management Foundation, that manages LUMS. He said that the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees had decided to name the SHSSL after Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani to honour the commitment.
He said that the SSE will be named after Syed Babar Ali to honour his contribution. He announced that LUMS was committed to establish was an independent school of law within two to three years. “We are committed to building a fourth school as our institute expands,” he said.
“As a nation, we must dream big,” Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, keynote speaker and an Academy award-winning documentary filmmaker, told the graduates. Asking them to also reflect on the dreams of the nation’s founding fathers, Chinoy advised graduating students to follow their dreams. Recalling her college years, Chinoy said, “The years one spends at college are the most enriching experience of one’s life.”
“Wearing ‘Free Palestine’ shirts at college and staging protests on campus, my college life helped me find my voice,” she said. Chinoy said the feeling of being young, invincible and ready to take on the world is a special feeling. “One must hold on to it tightly,” she said. She advised students to speak out, embrace failure and dream big, taking a ‘no’ for an answer. She spoke of her personal trials and tribulations.
Speaking of her desire to pursue journalism at a young age, she said, “I was always stubborn about following my dreams.” She spoke of the time when she wrote her first article at the age of 14 to an investigative report at the age of 20, which made her face personal attacks. She said that her father had stood by her then to support her struggle. “My father said that he would stand by me if I spoke the truth. His support changed the way I saw the world,” she said.
Chinoy said that Pakistan’s weak economy and political instability meant that some of the young people think about leaving the country. “Explore the world but come back to your country. It needs you,” she advised them.
‘The ceremony also included the hooding of Malik Jahan Khan, a doctorate candidate from the Department of Computer Science from the SSE, making him the seventh doctorate in Computer Science from LUMS.’
Talking to The Express Tribune about his academic journey, Dr Khan said it was a long struggle. Having taken charge as head of Computer Science department at Namal College in Mianwali a year ago, Dr Khan said that it was time for him to give back to society. He said he had been granted a scholarship at LUMS due to his academic performance. He said that children from under-privileged backgrounds had several opportunities to pursue education at esteemed educational institutions through scholarships. “If you have the will and commitment, everything falls right in place,” he said.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2012.
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