Texas A&M University at Qatar hosted its 83 first-year students, their families, returning students and its faculty and staff at an Academic Convocation ceremony on 28 August at the Qatar National Convention Center.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO, said, “With this event, we celebrate 10 years of engineering a world of difference in Qatar through excellence in teaching, leadership in research and selfless service to the community. Texas A&M at Qatar is a unique institution with an important mission. Our vision is to be the premier provider of engineering education in the region, a valuable contributor to knowledge internationally and a valued resource to the State of Qatar. As we start the new semester, ask yourself how you can be a part of that objective. “
Hamad bin Khalifa University Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. David B. Prior, gave the keynote address at the event. “I speak to you today as the recently appointed Executive Vice President and Provost of Hamad bin Khalifa University or HBKU. For more than 10 years, I was a proud member of the faculty of Texas A&M University in College Station and was privileged to be involved in the very first decision to bring Texas A&M engineering to Qatar,” he said.
“We felt honored to be asked to join Her Highness Sheikha Moza’s vision for enhanced higher education in Qatar through becoming one of the first of what are now many branch campuses. We believed that if we all worked hard, our highly ranked Aggie engineering programs could contribute to Her Highness’ vision in a big way. Now that contribution is being delivered day by day through the expertise, commitment and hard work of the faculty and staff of Texas A&M at Qatar.”
“The university experience here has changed lives and the President of HBKU, Dr. Abdulla Al-Thani, has asked me to convey his thanks to Texas A&M for joining Qatar Foundation on this exciting journey. To all of the freshmen here today, it will change your lives, as well. You will be challenged to understand what is known, to recognize what the gaps are in engineering knowledge and how to find new ways forward. You will become the creators and owners of new ideas and always seeking innovation. You will not only become first-rate engineers, you will become leaders with the skills of critical thinking, problem solving, communication, teamwork and the vision to embrace lifelong learning.”
The program recognized both undergraduate and graduate classes and acknowledged Distinguished Student List awardees and Dean’s Honor Roll recipients from the previous fall and spring semesters. Dr. Hamid Parsaei, Texas A&M at Qatar Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor and Interim Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Program, emceed the event and Student Body President, Fatima Makki, welcomed the incoming class.
Returning chemical engineering students, Muaz Selam and Joseph Costandy, were two of the continuing students recognized for their academic achievements.
Selam said the celebration had a profound impact on him, noting, “Convocation made me realize I am part of a large community and we have the same objectives, to learn and develop the language of science and technology.”
“As a fourth year student, it was a great honor for me to attend this year’s Convocation,” said Costandy, OXE Chemical Engineering Honors Society president. “This recognition acts as a force to help me continue working hard. I also enjoyed meeting the freshman students and welcoming them to campus. I hope this event will give them much to look forward to in the university journey and I wish them the best of luck in this new and exciting beginning.”