On Thursday, February 18, North South University held its 19th Convocation for our new graduates. It was a grand ceremony to bid farewell to our former students, now new graduates, with both a heavy and a happy heart. Over 2000 former students attended the convocation along with their proud families and friends. The Chairman of the ceremony was the Chancellor of the University and the President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid. Dr. Rita R. Colwell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, was present as the Convocation Speaker. The list of Special Guests included Professor Abdul Mannan, Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT), Mr. M. A. Kashem, and Vice Chancellor in charge, Dr. Gour Gobinda Goswami. Deans, Chairs, and all the honorable faculty members were also present at the ceremony.
Excited for their convocation day, the new graduates started gathering early in the morning. The whole Plaza Area was beautifully and tastefully decorated and arranged to facilitate seating for the faculty members, the former students, and their respected family members. The excitement in their eyes was quite moving, as the graduates convened. When the President arrived, the events began to take place. The President, upon arriving, declared the ceremony open. His declaration was followed by the National Anthem and a recitation from the Holy Quran. The first speaker of the ceremony was the Chairman of the NSU Board of Trustees, Mr. M. A. Kashem, who started off by paying his respects and expressing his gratitude to the martyrs of 1952. He encouraged students to think globally when it comes to their work while remembering to always give back to their country.
Convocation Speaker Dr. Rita R. Colwell then expressed her gratitude to be present with the students who were graduating that day. In a fantastic speech, she described how education has the ability to change anyone's life for the better. As an example, she spoke of the life of the famous Frederick Douglass, a man who was born a slave. Eventually, when he became literate on his own accord, he escaped the world of slavery and became a social reformer, an orator, a writer, and a statesman. She said that "Education and slavery are incompatible, because an educated person constantly seeks to improve himself. They eventually achieve the power to change the world." She went on to tell us that we should be ready to face any kind of challenge, from something as small as traffic to major social changes, because facing these challenges and learning from them is what makes us better. In a respectful gesture of friendship, Professor Colwell also talked about setting up a Molecular Biology Lab at NSU in the not so distant future.
After such a moving speech, the President announced that the students were now officially graduates. He gave out nine gold medals to students with extraordinary academic accomplishments. It was a proud day for North South University, as all nine of the students, including the Valedictorian, were women. The Valedictorian of the 19th convocation was Ms Tayebah Mohammad Sharif Hossain. She delivered a speech to her fellow graduates about the exciting journey they were about to embark on.
Professor Abdul Mannan in his speech expressed the happiness that he felt and thanked the NSU authorities for inviting him. He encouraged students to keep an eye on their culture and heritage. Next, Dr. Gour Gobinda Goswami, the Vice Chancellor in charge of North South University, mentioned in his speech that the university is looking to launch several Ph.D. programs in the near future. He talked about how wonderful it was to see the graduates in such attire and ended his speech beautifully saying, "We always ask you to make us proud. Too late, you already did."
In an afternoon full of beautiful speeches, the President stole the show. He started his speech by congratulating the nine women who achieved the highest honors for their educational achievements. He talked about how events like the Industrial Revolution shaped the world as it is today, a world where technology is the trump card towards change and acceptance. He believes that society can be changed through education. This education, he mentioned, is not just higher education, but the right kind of education that will bring forth not only knowledgeable, but also wise human beings. He said that "I believe NSU can sustain and administer the kind of quality education necessary to keep up the good work of providing the country with bright young minds. These bright minds will one day represent our country to the outside world." The President finished his speech with a call to all university students, former and current, to at least help educate two people in their lives. He suggested that by doing so we can one day eradicate illiteracy. With that call to duty, he ended the first session of the ceremony.
The second session included the handing out of degrees, which took place in three different areas of the university. After that, the students and their families gathered in the newly decorated canteen and study hall for the grand dinner. The festivity continued with cultural programs and a surprise appearance from the vocalist of Dolchuut, Bappa Majumdar.
As the day fell into night, it was finally time to say goodbye to the campus that had brought the new graduates to where they are today. A beautiful example of gratitude is the Convocation itself, a chance for the students and the university to thank each other. Thus, the long and prestigious event came to an end as the new graduates left the university to pursue their dreams. We bid them a bittersweet farewell and wish them luck for all their future endeavors and pray for their good health.