Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) recently held its 18th annual Commencement ceremony at the HBKU Student Center in Education City.

The ceremony was "made memorable by inspiring and touching speeches" that were given by faculty, graduates and the keynote speaker at the event that brought together families, friends, faculty and staff to celebrate the accomplishments of VCUarts Qatar’s graduates, according to a press statement.

By all accounts, the ceremony was "a resounding success", the statement noted.

Dana Alfardan was the keynote speaker.

Dr Michael Rao, president of Virginia Commonwealth University, told the students: “You are creative scholars who embody the very best of our university and illuminate the very meaning of our humanity. I know you will use your vast talents to benefit humankind.”

The Commencement’s keynote speaker, Qatari contemporary composer, songwriter and symphonic artiste Dana Alfardan, said: “Today, you are stepping onto a new platform; a global marketplace where your talents and skill represent your international currency, and art the international language.”

Class of 2019 co-valedictorians Hind Ghanim al-Saad and Yeon Geong Hwang, both graphic design graduates, gave a well-received speech in which they thanked their families, fellow graduates, friends and faculty, and looked forward to what comes next.

The university conferred 68 BFA and BA degrees as well as eight Master of Fine Arts degrees.

“All of you make up our community, and because we were surrounded by you, we grew as people, developed ways of seeing, thinking and reflecting, which completely shifted our perspectives of the world, we started to notice all the small details and see all the connections. It was a creative community of like-minded people, and that was our creative fuel, which made us grow and develop further as creatives, by allowing new perspectives to come in,” Hind said.

“We deeply appreciate that we had such an amazing batch as classmates and friends for the last four years. This batch had inspiring energy - that never sought to give up - and it brought us here today. It would’ve been a very different experience without every single one of you. We also want to thank the often hidden and often less noticed staff of our university. And last but certainly not least, we thank our amazing faculty. Sometimes I think our faculty suffers a bit more than us, and for that, we are very thankful,” Yeon added.

The university conferred 68 Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, painting and printmaking, and art history, and eight Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in design. Nearly 60% of the graduating students are Qatari.

One can find out more about VCUarts Qatar at

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