Class of 2018 Bids Farewell to Haigazian University 🎓
By Mira Yardemian, HU Public Relations Director
On Saturday, May 26, 2018, Haigazian University conferred 121 undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University’s 58th Commencement exercises, amidst an atmosphere of joyfulness, pride and ovation, sometimes mixed with moments of high emotion.
Minister of Tourism Avedis Guidanian represented both the President of the Republic Gen. Michel Aoun and the President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri. Member of Parliament Hagop Pakradounian represented the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berry. Among the attendees were MP Rev. Edgar Traboulsi, MP Gen. Jean Talouzian representing the Lebanese Forces Political Party, the Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon Samvel Mkrdchyan, the representative of the Commander of the Lebanese Army, the President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community of Syria and Lebanon, Rev. Salim Sahyouni, Prelate of the Armenians in Lebanon, Bishop Shahe Panosian, Prelate of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchy, Bishop George Assadourian, President of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria Rev. Haroutune Selimian, the Head of the Lebanese Press Union Elias Aoun and the Mayor of Bourj Hammoud Mardig Boghossian. The guests also included the Chair of the Haigazian University Board of Trustees Dr. Hasmig Baran coming from the USA, members of the Board, representatives of Armenian and Lebanese political parties, community leaders, representatives of educational institutions, parents, relatives and friends.
The auspicious ceremony began with the celebratory processional march by faculty and graduates on the notes of the traditional Pomp and Circumstance, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem and the Prayer of Invocation offered by Campus Minister Rev. Wilbert Van Saane.
Expressing his pride in the graduating class, University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian acknowledged the unwavering efforts and dedication of the parents, asking the audience to give them a hearty applause.
In his address, Rev. Dr. Haidostian tackled the notion of “virtue” in shaping characters and identities. He focused his talk on “respect” as a much-needed virtue and a key for success that transcends all times and eras. “No matter in what era we live, remember that respect is what I need from myself for myself, what those around me need from me without discrimination,” Rev. Dr. Haidostian noted. In a society where, unfortunately, respect is displayed mainly to the strong, he emphasized the importance to always “remember your Creator, remember His creatures, remember your families, and communities and country, remember that those stronger than you are in need of your respect equally with those who are weaker than yourselves.”
In his inspiring keynote speech, Director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Haigazian University Trustee and an Alumnus of 1973, Prof. Vahram Shemmassian addressed the graduating class by asking questions for them to consider and introduced creative and constructive ideas for them to think about. These questions included “Can you be a game changer? Can you criticize yourself in the strictest manner? Can you surround yourself with capable and powerful people without the fear of losing your status?”
Prof. Shemmassian suggested that the graduates always keep a positive balance in life, namely in finding an adequate balance in the use of technology and globalization matters. “The sooner you regain your independence from excessive use of technology, the quicker the freedom to imagine and create again will revisit you,” he noted.
“Be the latest design that suits and beautifies all shapes of humanity – tasteful, colorful, radiant, attractive, original, imaginative, ingenious…” Vahram Shemmassian, Ph.D.
He also invited the students to be change makers, unique, and mostly grateful. In this respect he said, “Life can never be miserable if you discipline yourselves to see the brighter side of things and the advantages that you have. Be the latest design that suits and beautifies all shapes of humanity–tasteful, colorful, radiant, attractive, original, imaginative, and ingenious.”
Prof. Shemmassian concluded his address with very precious advice, saying, “if you have accumulated a number of credits just to obtain a degree, then you have not learned much. But if you consider those units as stored seeds with which to feed the hungry, assist the less fortunate, give hope to the dislocated and the homeless, elevate peoples’ self-esteem, and or ennoble mankind in general, then you and a true education have embraced each other inextricably.”
The graduates then were called to collect their diplomas from the University President, assisted by Deans Fadi Asrawi and Arda Ekmekji.
With a sense of accomplishment and gratitude, valedictory Hagop Karamian and Suzanna Saadeddine thanked the parents, University faculty and staff, giving them the credit for shaping and equipping the graduates with all the necessary education and skills to embark on their new phase of life.
Speaking to their peers, Mr. Karamian assured his fellow graduates that “they have epitomized the model character of a Haigazian University learner,” inviting them to “celebrate our academic milestone, but also, the idea that we are beacons of hope and catalysts of change in society.” Ms. Saadeddine pointed out the importance of being grateful and serving the community and ultimately “our dear country Lebanon, as it is the most in need of our knowledge, ethics and expertise.”
After singing the Alma Mater, and upon the Benediction offered by the President of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East Rev. Mgrdich Karageozian, with loud cheers graduates threw their caps high into the air, joyfully marking the end of a four-year journey and confidently anticipating the commencement of a new beginning.