Centres of education not only impart knowledge, they also create new knowledge though research, Beaconhouse Group’s Chairperson Nasreen Mahmud Kasuri said at the eighth convocation of Beaconhouse National University (BNU) on Saturday.
The ceremony was presided over by the Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz.
Kasuri said, “Universities are thriving social and cultural centres that offer students an opportunity to learn inside and outside the classroom.” The gap between demand and supply of human capital was ever increasing. The state alone could not provide all high school graduates access colleges and universities “this is why private universities play such an important role,” she said.
Vice Chancellor Shahid Hafeez Kardar said BNU’s student strength had steadily risen over the decade...touching an enviable 1,700...a strong indication that it has become the university of choice for many.
He said that deserving students were offered merit and need-based scholarships. Students from less developed regions of the country, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan were helped in overcoming language barriers through a strong and robust communication skills programme. “We seek your support in helping us expand our efforts to provide opportunities to students through scholarships,” he said.
Class valedictorian Aman Karim, a graduate and gold medallist of MS Clinical and Counselling Psychology, said, “It is not about these three minutes of glory, but a lifetime of gratitude for all those who have made the climb easy for me. Graduating is not a transitory point...this moment will help define the rest of my life and I am grateful to Allah for the plan he has for me. If it was not for His plan, I would still be lost in Milton’s paradise.”
He said, “The day I walked in the university was a watershed moment for me. I was an incorrigible introvert.... an idle spectator of a life passing me by. BNU provided me a platform to end that.”
Karim said the university’s environment, people and culture had provided him the motivation to change things for the better. “I had feared failure, but not any longer. I know I can try, I could fail, but I can always try again,” he said.
Speaking to his fellow graduates, Karim said, “Look into the stands and to others around you. Every single person here believes that you will do great things in your lives. It doesn’t matter what your plans are or what you consider to be great things. Just remember that you will be the best that you can be.”
A total 325 students were awarded degrees. Of these, 148 graduated with MPhil, MS and master’s degrees and 177 received bachelor’s degrees. The fresh grads included 45 students from the Mariam Dawood School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD), 11 from the Razia Hassan School of Architecture (SA), 49 from the Seeta Majeed School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (SLASS), 83 from the School of Media and Mass Communication (SMC), 44 from the School of Computer and IT (SCIT), 41 from the Institute of Psychology (IP) and 52 from the School of Education (SE). 20 gold medals were awarded as recognition of academic excellence...14 of the recipients were girls. Students also received certificates of distinction for best theses and projects.
Sajid Akram Kashmiri of the SCIT was awarded the Arfa Karim Gold Medal. Nasim Hijazi Gold Medal went to Aneeqa Zaheer of the SMC.
Prior to the convocation, Sartaj Aziz unveiled the plaque of the BNU’s administration block that has been named after him to honour his services and contribution as the founder vice chancellor of BNU. Aziz was vice chancellor of the university from January 1, 2004 till June 14, 2013.
Professor Hafiz A Pasha was conferred the title of professor emeritus. The title of distinguished professor of art and art education was conferred upon Professor Judith Burton, Director of the Programme in Art and Art Education, Columbia University Teachers College, New York, USA.
Former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Kasim Mahmud Kasuri, Dr Parvez Hassan, Mueen Afzal, Shamim S Khan and other members of the Board of Governors of BNU were present at the occasion. Also present were the deans of BNU schools Prof Salima Hashmi, Dr Gulzar Haider, Dr Mehdi Hasan, Dr Tariq Rahman, Dr Khaver Zia and Dr Ruhi Khalid.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2013.
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