On Saturday evening, the new principal of St Joseph’s College for Women said goodbye to her first batch.
Professor Dr Bernadette Dean, who joined the college in 2010, the same year as the graduating class, proudly asked her students to carry on the institution’s legacy. “Students! For the past 65 years, graduates from this college have turned out to be the leaders in human endeavours. The legacy is now yours.” Dr Dean urged her students to “take this knowledge and passion out to the world”.
She said that she had watched them grow, become mature and turn into leaders. “I look at you with affection and with a touch of sadness. I consider myself a member of your class.”
The grounds inside the college were decorated for the annual convocation as bachelor’s students walked in, wearing dark blue gowns and caps. Intermediate students were wrapped in light blue scarves.
As the music played, the students filed into the grounds, smiling and waving to their parents and friends sitting in the audience. Once they were seated, the president of the board of governors, Sister Zeenat Shingara, announced: “I declare the convocation 2012 open.”
From the 2011 batch, 65 students were awarded BCom, BSc and BA degrees while nearly 450 intermediate students from the 2012 batch also received their Higher Secondary School Certificates in the faculties of pre-medical, pre-engineering, commerce and humanities.
During the ceremony, Dr Dean and her students emphasised on community service and how important it was to give back to the society. “You can make a difference in everything you do. There can be public service in every career,” said the principal. She proudly stated that the bachelor’s students had completed 100 hours of community service and praised them for donating blood regularly and raising charity money for flood survivors.
Dr Dean believed that St Joseph’s College would become the best one in the country in the near future. Referring to recent developments, she said that the computer science programme for intermediate students had already kicked off and a four-year BBA programme was also up and running.
The chief guest, State Bank’s banking surveillance director Lubna Farooq Malik, was also a proud alumni of the school. After congratulating the students, Malik said she was confident that the students would perform exceptionally in all walks of life.
The students also appreciated the college’s facilities and its teachers. Sadaf Naz, a pre-med graduate, said that they learned not only to be good at their studies, but in cocurricular activities as well. Naz, whose speech was a mixture of humour and sarcasm, said that at every nook and corner they were reminded they were in St Joseph’s College. “Our teachers would tell us: “Don’t think of the class as a dining room and eat here. This isn’t a regular college; this is St Joseph’s”.” Naz was glad that her teachers encouraged her to take part in a debate competition, which she won.
Another student, Uzaira Maheen, said that service and success were associated with one another and making a change in the society was everyone’s responsibility. Urging her colleagues to strive for a brighter future, she said that the country’s first woman president may be sitting amongst them.
Before the convocation started, students were reminiscing about the old college days and promised to continue their education. Yusra Haroon, a pre-medical student, said that she wanted to get admission into a good medical college. “Being a doctor is my passion, and I am glad that I came to this college to study.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2012.