Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker: Dr. Salim G. Sfeir (Chairman and CEO of Bank of Beirut).
NDU President Fr. Pierre Najem: "Be the advocates for unity, bring back shared values to our society, and always uphold the high ethical standards of NDU, wherever life may take you.”
More than 480 undergraduates and graduates were conferred degrees at the annual Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) 28th Commencement Ceremony for academic year 2017-18, which was took place on June 22, 2018, at the Zouk campus, themed, “Proudly NDU.”
In attendance at the ceremony were: Minister of Energy and Water H.E. Cesar Abi Khalil, representing President Michel Aoun; H.E. Dr. Dima Jamali, representing Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri; MP Mustafa Husseini, representing Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri; Political Advisor and Professor Naim Ouaini, representing Minister of Education and Higher Education H.E. Marwan Hamadeh; His Eminence Bishop Habib Chamieh, representing His Beatitude Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi; MP Chawki Daccach, MP Roger Azar, and MP Dr. Farid al- Bustani. Also in attendance were MP Sethrida Tawk Geagea; NDU Alumni MP Dr. Ali Darwish; Antonio Frangieh, representing MP Tony Frangieh; Celine Naasan Abboud, representing MP Nicolas Sehnaoui; and a host of political, diplomatic, military, and religious figures, university presidents, school principals, and members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) at NDU.
Guests stood for the national anthem sung by NDU Choir and conducted by none other than Fr. Khalil Rahme. Master of Ceremonies Vice-President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) at NDU Dr. Elie Bader declared the 28th commencement exercises open and invited Superior General of the Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary (OMM) Most Reverend Abbot Maroun Chidiac to officially launch the commencement exercises with a prayer.
For his part, NDU President Fr. Pierre Najem addressed the graduates in a moving speech. He said, “Do not live an empty life; remember the soul, and look deep within to find your essence. Do not be drawn into individualism that has now become the norm of our contemporary world. Be the advocates for unity, bring back shared values to our society, and always uphold the high ethical standards of NDU, wherever life may take you.”
He added, “This is my advice to you. Proceed on your journey but do not forget the home, your University, that has nurtured you for years like a mother - a mother who has loved you, who has given you her most precious gifts, and who has imprinted in your hearts her values, making you her ambassadors.”
Alexios Boutros Rustom, who, with a 4.0 GPA, earned a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering (FE) at NDU, delivered the valedictorian speech for the Class of 2018.
Rustom said, “Why is NDU so special?” My heartfelt reply is simple: NDU, which was conceived in the womb of the Maronite Mariamite Order, seeks to share the joy of Truth in every field. Here, you will mature into an educated person, into a righteous citizen, and into an untainted soul.”
He added, “Class of 2018, today is the start of the rest of your life. Cherish every moment you spent at NDU. You will never know the value of each moment until it becomes a memory. Ahead of us is life. Set your goals, but never at the expense of your values. Go forth with confidence and walk the path leading to your aspirations and ambitions. Claim your dreams. Strive to make a better society. Be brave, never give up! Have faith and courage. The best is yet to come! Class of 2018, you are all now NDU ambassadors. Go forth and prosper!”
Rustom was also the recipient of both the “General Khalil Kanaan Award” and the “Sarmad Rihani Award.”
Guest of Honor and keynote speaker Chairman and CEO of Bank of Beirut Dr. Salim G. Sfeir said, “You are not just tourists in a country called Lebanon; you are the proud citizens and people of this country. This is your homeland and the homeland of your children!”
He added, “I have some good advice for you: Do not be scared, do not give up, do not be lazy, believe in your goals, and believe in your ambitions!”
The University administration then presented Dr. Sfeir with a deeply meaningful symbolic gift, as a token of its appreciation for his continued philanthropic support of education in Lebanon. This gift, a facsimile, is a historic document on teaching and learning extracted from the Lebanese Synod Manuscript of the Maronite Marmite Order in 1736, which is currently conserved in Rome.
Finally, degrees were conferred, as proud parents cheered on their children.
Following the ceremony, graduates made their way to celebrate at a cocktail reception held on campus.
Congratulations, Class of 2018!