The Carnegie Mellon Qatar community welcomed a new dean and a new freshman class during its Sept. 4 Convocation ceremony.
A long-standing university tradition, the ceremony marked the official start of the 2011-2012 academic year, and the first day for the class of 2015. Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s new dean, Dr. Ilker Baybars, invited the students into Carnegie Mellon’s global family.
“As the new dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar, it is especially exciting for me to welcome the class of 2015 to campus. From this day forward, you’ll start to learn how a Carnegie Mellon education can transform your lives and create new opportunities,” Baybars said.
“My advice to the students joining us today is to get to know our faculty and staff. We are all here to help you succeed. Attend your classes, do your homework, attend some seminars, visit the library ... try to get the most out of your time here as the four years go by quickly. Good luck,” he added.
The ceremony began with the traditional procession of around 100 freshmen along with faculty members, who were led by Mohammed Janahi, student body president.
This year’s class comes from 47 schools and 20 countries, bringing the total number of countries represented by students at Carnegie Mellon Qatar to more than 40. This is also the largest class to date, and includes the highest number of Qatari nationals in the university’s history. Six transfer students will make up Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s inaugural class in a new Biological Sciences program offered in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College.
As about 500 family members and friends looked on, Haider Zali, the student speaker, reflected on his own freshman experience.
“A year ago I was in your place; anxious, excited, and nervous of what this new chapter in my life has in store for me. Like others in this room, I was leaving my comfort zone for a new adventure. Despite all the challenges I faced, there is no place in the world that I’d rather spend my college years than right here in this building,” Zali said.
New students expressed their excitement and high expectations for the coming academic year. Flavio Augusto Fenley, from Brazil, who completed Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s Summer College Preview Program, explained how the program helped him choose the right university.
“The Summer College Preview Program gave me clear insight into life at the university. The program highlighted the excellence of the professors, facilities, teaching assistants and the entire Carnegie Mellon experience,” Fenley said.
“I also researched and discovered that the Computer Science Program at Carnegie Mellon is one of the top ranked programs in the world. I know Carnegie Mellon was the right choice for me.”