​​​​​​​Commencement 2010: Student Speaker

May Majed Saleh Al Qurashi, Class of 2010,
Student Commencement Speaker
Commencement Ceremony
December 16, 2010

Your Excellency Chairman Al-Naimi, President Shih, Distinguished Guests, Class of 2010, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good afternoon.

It is my honor and pleasure to be up here today.

I would like to start with a famous Arabic phrase to give thanks to God and his Prophet (Peace be upon him).

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ... والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين

My time at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has been like nothing I knew before.

Academically, my friends and I, whether they are Saudis, Mexicans, Chinese, or Americans (actually all of us) agree that KAUST has been our most unique experience so far.

For that, my gratitude, and that of my fellow graduates, goes to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz for transforming his amazing dream into the most fascinating journey of our lives.

This unique experience was not an easy one.

I remember the first day of the biophysics class. The professor left such an overwhelming impression that most of us wanted to drop the course. But those who stayed learned from the great professor that they had to get out of their comforts zones to actually learn new science.

Thankfully, not everything was that hard.

In another class – the Cell Biology course – it seemed like we were covering material that we had learned before. But, somehow, there was something different about this course. The professor made familiar topics more intellectually challenging and exciting. He encouraged us to go beyond our textbooks and do our own research.

My professor – a great mind – once told me “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” From him, I learned that whenever something gets harder and more mysterious, it should make me more eager to get to the bottom of the problem and find the solution. This inspired me to dig even deeper and now I am looking forward to completing my PhD at KAUST.

The professors were a great influence on us, both academically and socially and without God’s blessing and their dedication, we would not have made it this far. All of us owe our professors our eternal gratitude for all that they gave to us. THANK YOU.

We cannot forget the first and foremost reason for why we are here – our beloved families! Whether you are here with us, or for some reason could not be here, you were and still the source of our happiness and enthusiasm, the warm hug we needed to keep us moving forward. We know that words cannot come close enough to express what we hold in our hearts for you. We THANK YOU so much.

Life at KAUST also taught us how to extend our family so it was not all about academics. Here, we met friends from all over the world and we found that although we are different in many, many ways, we are yet so close and yet so similar. Anyone walking down the campus spine would see friends gathering together and feel the spirit of everlasting friendship all over the place.

Now, after being so close, the Saudis say ¡Hola, Comó estás!, the Mexicans say “你好”, while the Chinese greet you with “ مرحبًا، كيف حالك؟”.

To all my wonderful friends, classmates and colleagues, congratulations. We did it! This is a huge milestone for your academic life and for KAUST and I wish you many more milestones in your future. Wherever you go or whatever you do, do not forget your KAUST friends. Keep in touch. From this day forward, we become a world-wide network of friends and remember, we ARE among the first KAUSTians. We ARE the first KAUST graduates. We ARE the first KAUST alumni. Be proud!