Convocation is about celebrating. It is exciting. It is intense. It is surreal. It is the beginning of a student’s life as he/she enters the real world. Graduation brings back the same butterflies in the stomach one probably felt as one entered university for the first time.
This year, the 32nd Convocation at LUMS, planned for 25th July, marks a significant milestone, as it is the first celebration in the history of the University to be hosted virtually. Even though the colourful parade of ensemble remains amiss, this commencement, no doubt is a celebration of the spirit and joy in reaching and recognizing a milestone achievement in the lives of the graduating batch.
The happiness, the thrill, the elation is a natural feeling for all graduates as well as the faculty, parents and LUMS leadership at this time and the virtual ceremony encompasses all.
This ceremony is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the Class of 2020, as they take their next step into the practical world and strive to contribute to the community and the world at large. LUMS has always been a community driven to achieve, lead and succeed — and most importantly to be there for each other.
As the leadership continues to share messages about how proud they are of the graduating class, the fact that this is a unique class cannot be ignored. Within a week’s time, this class had to learn to transition all their work online and take up the challenge to submit assignments and sit for their exams virtually. Connectivity problems, studying in cramped rooms, and constant distractions at home were just a few things they had to adjust to very quickly.
Even before they graduated, they have exemplified how to adjust to the new normal and continued not only to complete their degree but also extend support to the wider community amid COVID-19 crisis.
Since early March, LUMS students and graduates have been busy helping mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Sarim Raza – this year’s graduate – ran a ration drive for daily wage workers. On the scientific front, Nayyer Ali, also from the Class of 2020, worked with a PhD student at the School of Science and Engineering to make an important contribution to finding a possible cure for COVID-19. This Convocation celebrates and pays tribute to these and many more success stories.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who has risen to change the face of female education completed her degree at University of Oxford this year. Our graduates will stand tall with this Nobel Peace Prize winner, as they have also worked against many odds to receive their degrees. It is thus an honour that she will not only share her celebratory feelings with the LUMS graduates but also insights on dealing with the challenges that await them as they transition to the next stage in life.
While we all await the opportunity to celebrate in person, with the pandemic finally behind us, we encourage our graduates to face these unprecedented times with a spirit of conscientiousness, innovation and excellence. The world needs leaders who embrace and embody these words, now more than ever.
For now, as the University receives messages from graduates with their caps and smiling victorious faces, the feeling of celebration doubles. No matter what the circumstances, no matter where they are, who they celebrate with, the fact is that each graduate is a winner and we all are together in spirit to celebrate Convocation 2020.