EC Universities Change Graduation Sites



Graduation Infographics by Xiran Liu
Graduation Infographics by Xiran Liu


This year, Education City universities will hold their commencement ceremonies on their respective campuses, unlike previous years’ graduations which were held at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC).

“NU-Q graduation has historically been held at QNCC, but we were asked this year to hold it in another Qatar Foundation venue,” said Emily Wilson, manager for community relations at Northwestern University in Qatar, explaining that its 2015 graduation will be held in the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar campus.

Like NU-Q, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and University College London-Qatar will also hold their graduation ceremonies in their campus buildings.

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar will continue to hold its commencement at HBKU Student Center, as it has been doing since 2012, while Texas A&M University at Qatar’s graduation will take place at the Ceremonial Court.

Only Qatar Foundation’s graduation ceremony, which awards all EC graduates their degrees will take place at QNCC.

This year will also see Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s first graduation, at which graduates from Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII) and HBKU College of Science and Engineering will be awarded degrees. HBKU’s graduation will also take place at Student Center.

The decision not to hold commencement ceremonies at QNCC was made by Qatar Foundation, but its officials could not be reached for the reason for the change.

“There are no significant changes to the graduation ceremony itself, which will be exactly the same in scale and scope as in previous years,” said Nesreen M. Al-Rifai, chief communications officer at WCMC-Q. “We are very excited at the prospect of seeing our students receive their degrees on the grounds of our iconic campus, close to the rest of the QF community.”

Due to the change in the graduation venues, some branch campuses have also restricted the number of guests because of limited space.

“To help maximize the number of available seats for families of graduates of one of our largest graduating classes, we have restricted seating capacity for other members of the community,” said Moamer Qazafi, director of communications at GU-Q. “We are estimating about 600 guests in the audience based on past experience.”

All NU-Q students, except for the ones graduating, were notified that they will not be seated the main seating area of the graduation ceremony.  In an email sent out to Classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018, students were told, “you will be in an overflow area of the auditorium. Your chairs will not be in the rafters, but rather behind the pillar in the Assembly Area with a high-definition, large screen view of the proceedings.”

The change in graduation sites has received mixed reactions from the students.

“At first I was upset because I’ve attended graduation in QNCC and saw how grand and special it was,” said Francine Dinglasan, a senior at CMU-Q who is graduating in May. “I’ve dreamed of that big stage, and for my family and friends to see me on the giant screen [previously used for graduation at QNCC].”

Dinglasan said she was initially worried about the number of friends and family members she can invite to the graduation, but said CMU-Q Student Affairs is trying its best to accommodate all her guests.

“It would have been neat to have our graduation at the QNCC or a five star hotel, as has been done in the past. However, to be completely honest, I don’t really think that this creates much of an impact, in terms of utility or function,” said Bilal Shakir, a senior at GU-Q. “We still continue to enjoy some of the most lavish college graduation ceremonies in the world.”

According to Bilal, his main concern is that several graduation ceremonies in Education City are taking place on the same day and he will be unable to attend the gradation of his friends at other universities.

VCU-Q, CMU-Q and UCL-Q’s graduation is scheduled to take place on the same day, on May 4, while TAMUQ and GU-Q will both have their graduation on May 7.

“I think that scheduling two campus graduation ceremonies, TAMUQ and GU-Q’s, on the same day, with barely a few hours gap in between them, isn’t advisable,” he said. “Most of my friends go to TAMUQ and I would have liked to see them all be there for my graduation, along with their parents.”

See the attached infographic for details about the graduation ceremonies 2015, and the number of students graduating from each campus.


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