The American University in Cairo held its centennial commencement ceremony for the "class of 2019" on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by the AUC, the ceremony witnessed the graduation of 644 students with bachelor’s, of whom 115 graduated with honours, 134 with high honours and 125 with highest honours.
Master’s degrees were awarded to 125 candidates at the centennial commencement ceremony, and two students received doctorate degrees.
The ceremony also saw the graduation of 43 international undergraduate and graduate students.
"Today’s commencement is a very special ceremony because this year and next, AUC is celebrating the 100th year since our founding," AUC President Francis Ricciardone said at the ceremony, adding that “we rejoice in the accomplishments of all of our Centennial Class.”
"Just yesterday, it was announced that AUC has climbed 25 places this past year in the world rankings," Ricciardone said, adding that it was another reason to celebrate.
"You graduates can tell all your friends that you graduated from a university that is not just in the top 1 per cent of universities around the world but the top 0.7 percent, so special congratulations to the graduates and to all the faculty and staff who helped earn this distinction," he added.
The centennial commencement ceremony featured keynote speaker Maggie Michael, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting along with an Associated Press team for covering the war in Yemen.
Addressing Michael, Ricciardone said: “Your record of high accomplishment and real courage in the most challenging corners of one of the most challenging professions of our times inspires us all. We are proud that you are both a daughter of AUC, and a ‘Bint El-Nil.’”
Michael said that AUC taught her critical thinking and to question everything.
"For me, this is an essential skill that I treasured throughout 20 years of journalism that was lately recognised by the Pulitzer Prize,” she said.
Michael stressed the relevance of critical thinking: “It is an essential mind armour while covering this region that is torn between forces of religious fanaticism and chauvinism that divided people into believers and infidels or between loyalists and traitors.”
She also shared with the students how for nearly a year and half as a student at AUC, she had a unique experience in running AUC’s student newspaper The Caravan from scratch, describing it as her “most precious memories that I hold on to today.”
Her advice to students was to never give up, “have a thick skin in the face of people who undermine everything you do or look down at you, because of your age, religion, gender, or social background or just because of no real reason".
There are, she says, plenty of them in every company, institution, and agency. Keep your head up, question everything, and surprise yourself.”
Distinguished undergraduate students were also recognised for their achievements at the ceremony.