President Dawn Dekle of American University of Nigeria, on Monday, September 3, urged new students to strive to overcome personal circumstances of their birth and challenges in childhood, including economic and social class expectations, to achieve greatness.
Welcoming students and parents to the University’s Fall Semester Convocation and Pledge Ceremony, which marked the beginning of its 14th academic year for the undergraduate class of 2022, law class of 2023, post-graduate diploma class of 2020, masters’ degree class of 2020, and doctoral class of 2022, President Dekle admonished them to dream big and aim for greatness.
“You are so much more than where you were born or your childhood circumstances,” the President told the students. “You contain multitudes; you have the talents and skills you have not yet recognized. Use your time at AUN to develop yourself, make AUN work for you, make the most of it, and you will make your lives masterpieces.
Four Chibok schoolgirls and several freshmen from other African countries were among the more than 203 students who took the University’s Community Pledge, a tradition of American universities.
The four Chibok girls, who graduated from AUN’s New Foundation School, an intensive pre-college preparatory program, which integrates academic and counseling contents, met the admission requirements leading to their enrollment into undergraduate programs.
Three of the girls who plan to go on to medical school are enrolled in AUN’s globally acclaimed Natural & Environmental Science program, with a concentration in Biomedical Science; the other will study Law. Altogether 12 students from Chibok community in Borno State are enrolled in different programs at AUN. Five are studying to become doctors, two each are in Law and Accounting, and two others are in the Business Administration and Communications & Multimedia programs.
Supported by their parents, faculty members, fellow students and other community members, the girls drew the loudest applause from the audience when they were called up to the podium to receive their Class sashes from Dr. Dekle.
Drawing broadly from sporting metaphors and anecdotes, Dr. Dekle noted that at its best, football transcends language, religion, race, and politics. Of all sports, it is the most inclusive, tolerant, and diverse.
“University study is a lot like football. In both, you have to rely on your team and make a plan for each test of your skill; you have to learn mental toughness to manage your anxieties and fears, and you have to take the opportunity to shine in the spotlight when you are asked to lead.”
“If I have one last prayer for each of you; it is that you use your time at AUN to develop the mindset of a midfielder on the football pitch. Why do I choose a midfielder, when the striker is the one who bends or chips the ball into the goal and wins the glory for the team? I choose midfielder because the position is the most flexible and fit, the most adaptable, and the best team player.”
All the newly admitted students took part in their first Community Service the previous Saturday at the Yolde Pate Primary School in Yola South LGA. All students of the American University of Nigeria, Africa’s first Development University, are required to participate in Community Service.