With great fanfare, Habib University on the 12th of June, 2021, celebrated its fourth overall and second virtual convocation. The fourth batch of graduates from Pakistan’s first Liberal Arts and Science University were named the ‘Pathfinders’ to acknowledge their imagination and foresight to come to a new University.
The class of 2021, are a testament to Habib University’s efforts, having successfully completed their coursework online, some securing jobs and admissions to graduate schools before graduating. They remained true to their name during their four-year journey at Habib University and exhibited utmost resilience while kindling hope amidst the pandemic, ultimately graduating with pride.
In total, 162 students graduated this year with degrees awarded from the University’s two schools, namely the Dhanani School of Science and Engineering (DSSE) and the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS).
From the DSSE, 84 students were awarded degrees out of which 33 students received Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering, and 51 students Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science.
From AHSS, 78 students were awarded degrees, of which 45 students received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Social Development and Policy, and 33 students received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Communication and Design.
Like last year, the convocation ceremony began was streamed online which allowed Habib University’s global community, including Members of the Board of Governors of Habib University, Members of the Board of Directors of Habib University Foundation, graduate students, members of the Faculty, Deans, VP, Patron, joined in on the celebrations from the comfort of their homes.
The ceremony began with a beautiful recitation from the Holy Quran from Muhammad Usman Siddiqui, from the Class of 2023. The Master of Ceremonies invited the HU Choir to sing the national anthem.
The audiences watching at home lauded the performance through their comments and virtual applause.
Hasan Ul Haq, a Communication and Design major, was announced as the valedictorian for the Class of 2021. The valedictorian is chosen based on maintaining outstanding conduct during the student’s four-year journey.
“These past four years have been a journey. From the moment we were welcomed at the HU Auditorium on Parent’s Night, to this bittersweet moment when we bid adieu to the place we call home,” he said.
He noted how over the past four years, they didn’t just see Habib University grow into the esteemed institute it is today, but that they grew along with it.
Haq reminisced the fulfilling journey he had had at the University. He also paid tribute to the late Dr. Asif Aslam Farrukhi.
“We have come a long way, Pathfinders, and we wouldn’t have reached here if it weren’t for all the friends we made and lost along the way, all the faculty that supported us, nurtured us, excited us and allowed us to take risks and grow, such as the late Dr. Asif Farrukhi. We come into this world naturally as dreamers, but our dreams are just abstractions until someone comes along and attaches a vision to them.”
He also expressed gratitude to all of his professors at Habib and the administration for their support during the pandemic.
President Wasif A Rizvi then delivered his Convocation Address. He congratulated the graduating class of 2021, praising them for their diligence and work ethic throughout the pandemic. He praised the honorable faculty, the support of the families, and the University’s esteemed leadership in helping the institution adjust to the world’s new reality.
He remembered the individual and collective losses suffered by the Habib community, in particular late Dr Asif Aslam Farrukhi and the brilliant legacy he left behind.
To the students, he laid before them the grim challenges facing the world and the obvious solution that was at hand.
“It’s obvious that never before the need to cultivate critically-aware citizens has become more vital for the survival of the whole world,” he said and emphasized the need for an honest judgement of oneself that comprises ‘the real critical thinking’ approach one should have.
“Dear Pathfinders, you carry this extraordinary responsibility after graduating from Habib University, which not only provided you with a profound intellectual experience in critical thinking but also ensured that this experience is received by a remarkably diverse community of students. From tomorrow onwards, you will be co-custodians of this mission of critical awareness of generosity and of defending diversity.”
President Rizvi ended his wonderful address with words enwreathed in the values of Yohsin, “always reflect on what you were invited to cultivate within yourselves at Habib, cure your cynicism, with passion and Ikhlas, challenge the ugliness and destruction with grace and beauty, addressed laziness, indifference and incompetence with Ehsaan, rigour and excellence, and tackle exploitation with Ahsan, goodness, service and generosity. Class of 2021 the future is yours to shape with this wisdom and insight of Yohsin.”
Renowned scriptwriter, satirist and television presenter Anwar Maqsood featured as the commencement speaker at the convocation.
Speaking in-depth about our country’s tussle with corruption, he offered words of encouragement to the graduates and reminded them that their work is just beginning.
“The fourth caravan of young graduates from this institution arrives at its destination today. But you must not stop to rest at the juncture – there is much work to be done. The future of this country is in your hands, just like your degree. It is your duty to care for it, and to protect it.”
He urged the graduating students to remember their roots and to keep the beauty of the Urdu language alive and well.
“Urdu is our national language; it has a rich history. All of you have been educated in English, and it will remain with you. But I request you… do not let go of Urdu,” he said.
He also paid tribute to the late Dr Farrukhi.
“Your teacher, Dr. Asif Farrukhi, is no more among us. But his contributions to Urdu literature will forever remain with us
Maqsood, in his speech, also urged the graduating cohort to work for the country’s improvement.
“I had to explain to you, just how much hope I have because of you. You are graduating from such a great institution and you may very well be moving to different countries, but never forget Pakistan.”
The Master of Ceremony then invited Dr.Waqar Saleem, Assistant Dean of DSSE to announce the conferment of Electrical Engineering degrees and Computer Science degrees.
The Patron and Governor Sindh, Mr. Imran Ismail in his address to the graduating students lauded them for reaching this critical milestone in their lives.
“My message to you that you parents and your faculty have provided you the best education in the world in the best institution in the world. From here it is up to you to strive and struggle,” he said, noting that Habib University has raised the standard in education.
Mr. Ismail also paid tribute to the late Ali S Habib who headed such a university and laid the foundation of things which are in Pakistan’s interest.
Dr. Massimo Ramaioli, the Assistant Dean of AHSS then announced the conferment of Social Development and Policy degrees and Communication and Design degrees.
As is custom, students who exemplified excellent performance throughout their four years were awarded medals for their achievements. The President’s Award was given to Muhammad Abdullah Siddiqui, an Electrical Engineering major. The award is presented to the graduating student who achieves the highest academic achievement overall.
In his motivational message to the graduating class, Chancellor Rafiq M. Habib wished the Pathfinders the sincerest of luck in making a positive contribution to the world while adhering to the values of Yohsin.
“By graduating today, you have already made a mark on the world. Now, as you embark on the new part of your journey, make sure you adhere to the principles of Yohsin, and I am confident that whether you pursue further education or a career, you are ready to face any adversity that might come your way,” he said.
The Chancellor’s Yohsin Medal, the most prestigious award at the convocation, is granted to the graduating student who both excels academically and embodies the Philosophy of Yohsin. Sarah Khan, a Social Development Policy major, was presented with the award.
Alongside the hallmark student awards, the Teaching Excellence Awards was introduced this year to honor faculty’s dedication, innovative creativity and commitment in teaching and mentoring – furthering excellence in teaching at Habib University. From the AHSS, the award was given to Manahil Huda, lecturer in the Communication and Design program, for her outstanding contribution in designing and teaching an excellent course. From the DSSE, Dr. Muhammad Farhan, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Junaid Ahmed Memon, Lecturer, Electrical and Computer Engineering.