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Inaugural Classes Begin at Northwestern in Qatar

Classes at Northwestern University in Qatar began on Sunday, Aug. 17, marking the formal opening of Northwestern's first overseas campus.

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August 18, 2008 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Classes at Northwestern University in Qatar began Sunday, Aug. 17, marking the formal opening of Northwestern's first overseas campus offering undergraduate degrees.

Northwestern's inaugural Class of 2012 in Qatar consists of 39 students who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in journalism and communications. The two academic programs are modeled on the curricula offered on the Evanston campus of Northwestern.

Students of the 2012 class were selected from more than 125 applicants from more than a dozen countries, both in the Middle East and abroad. The students are citizens of more than a dozen countries. Most attended secondary school in Qatar. Entering students also were educated in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

Of the nine males and 30 females in the entering class, 17 are enrolled in the journalism program and 22 in the communications program.

"Northwestern University in Qatar is delighted to welcome such a talented group of students to the Class of 2012," said John Margolis, dean of Northwestern's Qatar campus. "We look forward to preparing members of our entering class to assume leadership roles in such critically important areas as journalism and other communication and media professions."

Northwestern's journalism program in Qatar, overseen by the Medill School of Journalism, will prepare students for careers in print, broadcast and online news media. Northwestern's School of Communication offers a major in Media Industries and Technologies, preparing students for management and creative roles in communication and media industries and for responsible civic participation in the proliferating world of global media.

During the inaugural 2008-09 academic year, when only first-year students are enrolled, the 39 students will be mentored by nine faculty members, who are assisted by more than two dozen staff in areas such as information technology, library services, student affairs, human resources and finance. The faculty and staff will expand year by year as additional cohorts of students join Northwestern University in Qatar.

"The challenges of opening a new campus 7,000 miles and eight time zones from Evanston are many -- as are the satisfactions," said Dean Margolis. "In the months since we signed our November 2007 agreement to open a campus in Qatar, many people on both campuses worked very hard to ensure that we were prepared to welcome our new Northwestern students in Doha. We greatly appreciate their efforts, which now are clearly bearing fruit."

Sunday's opening of classes was preceded by a Dean's Convocation Aug. 10 and "Wildcat Welcome," an intense four-day orientation program. During "Wildcat Welcome" students learned about academic policies and opportunities on the new campus and about Northwestern traditions. They learned about the Alma Mater, the purple illumination of the Rebecca Crown Center clock tower to mark athletic victories, and the history of Dance Marathon, one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the world. Students were also given the chance to paint miniature versions of the Rock. (In one of Northwestern's best-known traditions, the Rock, a huge chunk of stone set in a plaza on the Evanston campus, has been painted with slogans, colorful and ever-changing, since 1957.)

Northwestern University in Qatar is a partnership with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. In the rapidly developing community in Doha called "Education City," Northwestern joins campuses from Carnegie-Mellon University, Cornell University, Georgetown University, Texas A&M University and Virginia Commonwealth University.