Welcome remarks by Dr. LeGene Quesenberry, Interim President AUN, at the 9th Commencement Ceremony on May 13, 2017
I am delighted to welcome every one—parents and family members, AUN friends and partners, faculty and staff, students, our keynote speaker, our founder and AUN trustees, and, most importantly, our Class of 2017--to the American University of Nigeria’s ninth commencement ceremony. Today, we mark yet another milestone in the history of our great university.
Let me begin these welcoming remarks with a few thank you words to several people who, in fact, have made huge sacrifices at ensuring you all, class of 2017, succeed.
AUN class of 2017, your journey at this university would not have been possible without the generous support of your parents. Yes, many of them made superior sacrifices to ensure your completion today. To our parents, we thank you for your support. Four years ago, many of you were in a dilemma whether to send your children to AUN or not due to the challenges in the region at the time. But you made those difficult choices and decisions, having great faith in us as a university to do our best to secure your children, our students and our most valued asset. We rejoice with all you today as you celebrate this momentous occasion and hope, as you reflect on your decision, you are all so proud that you made the right decision.
To the one person who has ensured that we had what we needed in order to provide you the required education for your future, His Excellency, Alhaji Dr. Atiku Abubakar, GCON, our Founder and former Vice-President of Nigeria, we thank you profoundly for your generosity and foresight in establishing the American University of Nigeria for the future of Nigeria and Africa. We are also very thankful to the Board of Trustees of this great university, led by Mr. Akin Kekere-Ekun, for providing guidance and direction.
To our excellent faculty and staff, we salute your mentorship of these great minds. Your effort and hard work has produced those we all gather today to celebrate.
Please permit me to say a little about this class. AUN’s class of 2017 is very diverse; it’s a class that has a mixture of Africans—Nigerian, South African, Cameroonian and Ugandan. Also, in this class is the 4th place winner of the 2016 General Electric Universities Entrepreneurship Competition, quarter finalist at the 2016 National Tax Debate Competition, and a winner of the Nigerian federal government YOUWIN business grant. Many in this class have developed innovative Apps and broken new ground in their senior research design/projects with a wide range of applications in business, education, information technology. There are, in this class, CEOs of their own businesses, established while students of this great university. As you can see, members of this class are the “game changers” of today’s world. We, not at all surprised at their many accomplishments, and are indeed very proud of all of them.
Now to our newest graduating class, the Class of 2017. Today, marks the end of your 4 years of studies here at AUN. Many of you long expected this day, most of you with enthusiasm, a few of you with a sense of anxiety. However, irrespective of your feelings here today, we congratulate you and your parents. You all made it!
As I read through many of your AUN experiences, I am thrilled at your testimonies of how your AUN education has improved, changed and transformed your lives. Yes, at AUN, we teach you to excel, to be independent, to be problem solvers, to pursue your dreams, to be critical thinkers. We are committed to this course of providing world class education to our students.
I want to encourage all of you as you begin a new phase of your life—a phase of independence, and the challenges of adulthood. Your AUN education has provided you the needed tools to face the many challenges in your country, and to prevail. I challenge all of you to convert the many challenges into opportunities. Have this in mind, in the new phase you are about to begin: most people have very limited opportunities available to them, and face so many problems and challenges as they seek opportunities. But your AUN education has given you great advantages. Use them.
Remember, AUN’s mission is to produce graduates who are problem solvers, who are committed to the communities they find themselves in, who are committed to the prosperity of their countries. This is what defines us as a “Development University,” and I encourage all of you to use your education to better the society you lived in.
Finally, on behalf of the University community, I congratulate all our class of 2017 graduates. We are indeed very happy and excited that you are now leaving us to effect the change your society yearns and longs for.
I, once again, welcome our proud parents and all our guests to today’s celebration as we celebrate yet another amazing class, the AUN Class of 2017.