Fall 2012

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From left, NU-Q grads Maryam Al-Darwish (C12), Maaria Assami (C12) and Sarah Abou-Zant (C12) at Commencement on the Evanston campus. Photo by Jim Prisching.

Doha Delegation Joins Commencement Festivities

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Paul Farmer preaches the power of partnerships at Commencement.

Four years ago nearly 40 ambitious students made the risky decision to join the first class at the nascent Northwestern University in Qatar. In June nearly two dozen members of that pioneering class of 36 students visited Northwestern’s Evanston campus for the University’s 154th Commencement ceremony.

“They’d never heard of Northwestern,” NU-Q senior associate dean Richard Roth told the audience at the convocation for the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. “They took a chance on us, and they made it through.”

The NU-Q graduates in communication and journalism, who received their diplomas during a series of celebrations on their home campus in mid-May (see special Northwestern NewsCenter coverage of the inaugural Commencement in Qatar), accepted the Northwestern Alumni Association charter for a new alumni club during their visit to the Evanston campus. One of more than 70 Northwestern alumni clubs around the world, the NU-Q organization is the NAA’s first in the Middle East.  

“It’s amazing to be here,” said Benazir al-Munir Karim (J12), a journalism graduate from Tanzania and NU-Q’s first valedictorian. “You realize we really do all belong together, even though we’re far apart on the map.”

During a sweltering, sun-drenched Commencement ceremony at Ryan Field, humanitarian Paul Farmer (H12) preached the power of partnerships in overcoming failures of imagination to the members of the class of 2012.

“As new challenges arise to the survival of all the inhabitants of this beautiful and fragile planet, remember that your generation, more than any other, will need to embrace partnerships,” said Farmer, a Harvard University professor and co-founder of Partners in Health.

Farmer received an honorary degree, along with Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney (H12), Harvard Law School professor and former Medill Cherub Martha Minow (H12) and Stanford University professor emeritus of engineering William Dix (H12).

Northwestern honored 34 emeriti professors who provided a combined 12 centuries of service to the University. And for the second year the University also honored five recipients of the Distinguished Secondary Teacher Awards, including John F. Belcaster (WCAS86), who teaches at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chica