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KAUST President Dr. Tony Chan (third from left) welcomed new master's degree and Ph.D. students to campus on September 4 at the ninth academic Convocation ceremony. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
-By Meres J. Weche, KAUST News
KAUST welcomed a new cohort of master's degree and Ph.D. students as part of the ninth academic Convocation ceremony held on September 4, which marked the start of the academic year. Half of the students came from countries around the world, and over a third were female, arriving at KAUST from some of the best educational institutions globally. They were greeted with words of wisdom and encouragement by faculty speaker J. Carlos Santamarina, associate director of the University's Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center, as well as by student speaker Kenneth Langley, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering.
The event was particularly significant as it marked the first opportunity the new KAUST president Dr. Tony Chan spoke to an audience on campus. Highlighting to the students that he was welcoming them as a new member of the KAUST community himself, Dr. Chan said, "What really attracted me from day one is the vision of KAUST. We are all part of this vision."
Nine years into the University's journey, Dr. Chan said that the KAUST community has much to be proud of—the University's researchers have established a strong track record and community members have memorable stories to tell.
KAUST President Dr. Tony Chan speaks to an audience of University students, faculty and staff at the ninth academic Convocation ceremony on September 4 on campus. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
Student speaker Langley advised the new students to be guided by the University's motto "Through Inspiration, Discovery."
"Sources of inspiration abound at KAUST," Langley said.
The Denver, Colorado, U.S., native recalled how impressed he was when he first visited the University's state-of-the-art laboratories and saw imaging equipment that would allow him to take his passion for fluid mechanics to the next level.
KAUST Ph.D. student Kenneth Langley talks to the audience on behalf of the University's students during the ninth academic Convocation ceremony on September 4. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
While taking advantage of the resources and expertise on campus is important, Langley also underscored that their academic journey should not be a lonely one.
"You have to collaborate and share to grow," he advised.
Faculty speaker Santamarina also indicated that those connections—and the University's connections to the world's research community—are vital to success.
Faculty speaker J. Carlos Santamarina, associate director of the University's Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center, talks to the audience during the ninth academic Convocation ceremony on September 4 on campus. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
Santamarina invited everyone in the KAUST community to "walk into King Abdullah's House of Wisdom to build an unparalleled intellectual community together. Have no doubts: KAUST is exceptional and unique," he said.