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Deree Commencement 2018: Congratulations Graduates!

“You are going to live in a world that is changing, I dare to say exponentially with time, something that is really a first, or to be more precise, has to occur since the very first moments of the Big Bang! Talent, useful knowledge, and ‘know how’ are unavoidable ‘musts’ for a successful and happy life…” – Dimitri V. Nanopoulos, Distinguished Professor of Physics, 2018 Honorary Degree recipient

The evening of Saturday June 30, 2018 was a special occasion for the entire ACG community. The most anticipated event of the year, Deree Commencement, faithful to its annual tradition, concluded with great success! Members of the ACG community, distinguished guests, friends, and family members gathered at the ACG Stadium and proudly witnessed hundreds of graduates walk down the platform and receive their well-deserved bachelor’s and master’s degrees. More than 380 undergraduate and graduate students, from 28 countries around the globe, were applauded for their years of hard work, perseverance, determination and outstanding performance that led them to this pivotal event and the most important day in college life, Graduation Day!

The ACG mentality encourages students to inspire others, reach for their aspirations and teaches them to always give back to the community. It was only a few days ago that more than 110 distinguished members of the Deree student body, including many graduates of the Class 2018, were rewarded for their efforts and achievements inside and outside the classrooms. The Deree Student Awards Ceremony 2018 recognized the efforts of individuals who excelled academically and athletically as well as showcased impressive leadership skills and got vigorously involved in student life, clubs, organizations and programs of the College.

President David G. Horner gave the opening remarks and welcomed the audience and the Class of 2018 to the greatest Ceremony of the year:

“The Deree graduates we focus on this evening have worked hard and richly deserve the recognition we will bestow upon them. They are ready to navigate the challenges of a global economy and to be constructive agents of social change. Their future success will be built on the preparation they have received at The American College of Greece as well as on the loving investments of family, friends, teachers and others who have encouraged and sustained them.”

The President concluded his speech with the introduction of the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Greece, Kate Marie Byrnes. Ms. Byrnes greeted the audience on behalf of the people of the United States and went on to express her gratitude and appreciation at being present in this celebration.

“You represent the best of what Greece has to offer” noted Ms. Byrnes praising the students for their “resilience, youthful vitality, entrepreneurial spirit, and ingenuity. I believe that the skills and analytical abilities you have developed at Deree have prepared you well to help shape a new future” she added and expressed the hope and certainty that the people she has met at Deree, including refugee students, are eager to make a difference and to contribute to the shaping of a prosperous society that respects and embraces diversity. Addressing the Greek students about the future of Greece, DCM Byrnes reminded them that it is they who will “help build a new, more competitive and outward-looking Greek economy that is able to thrive economically and exploit its natural advantages in the fields ranging from energy to tourism and agriculture.”

This year’s Commencement Address was delivered by the 2018 Honorary Degree recipient, Dimitri V. Nanopoulos, Distinguished Professor of Physics and holder of the Mitchell/Heep Chair in High Energy Physics at Texas A&M University, head of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) Astroparticle Physics Group, and a fellow and chair of Theoretical Physics, Academy of Athens in Greece. He works in unified string theories, fundamentals of quantum theory, astroparticle physics and quantum-inspired models of brain function. He has written over 680 original publications and is the recipient of many important awards and recognitions including “Onassis International Prize” and “Enrico Fermi Prize.”

Dr. Nanopoulos delivered an inspirational speech on the future, the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is currently underway, and on the inner potential that our fresh graduates must unleash to adapt to, and keep abreast of, the breakneck pace of technology and the fusion of the digital, physical and biological worlds.

“Lust for life, hard work, wild imagination, sense of risk, limitless appetite for learning, discipline, focusing or as we say in the USA, ‘keep your eye on the ball and your ears to the ground’ are today’s desiderata” said Professor Nanopoulos highlighting the ingredients for successful living and urging the young among the audience to prove themselves and seize the moment.

The Ceremony continued with magna cum laude student, Ms. Tsungirirai Dawn Madume who delivered the Student Address 2018.

“Well, Fellow Graduates, we made it!” said an emotional Madume alluding to the small, meticulous, consistent decisions and actions that led to this milestone day.

I am often asked why I chose Greece; the answer is I chose Deree. Regardless of your major here at Deree, we can debate in world championships; or play volleyball in the country’s top divisions. Perhaps even study abroad at Stanford in the summer or have a chance to meet world leaders like President Barack Obama, Commissioner Declan Costello through various college events. Giving back through ACG Cares or taking a weekend away for community service with our peers. It is more than just academia; the experiences engrain essential values of integrity and grit that prepare us for the journey ahead” said Tsungirirai and went on to thank all the forces – professors, counselors, peer tutors, parents, friends, and cleaners – who made possible this wonderful life journey for her and her fellow graduates.

Concluding her Address, Ms. Madume urged her peers to fuel their ambitions with gratitude and to dare to dream big.

The magnificent celebration proceeded with moments of excitement, praise and triumph, while each individual graduate was called upon the stage for the Conferral of their degree of Master of Science, Master of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts.

President Horner gave his closing remarks and offered Charges to the graduates.

Graduates of 2018, we are proud of your accomplishments; we are the better for our association with you as colleagues in learning, and we send you forth in confidence to share the gifts that you, uniquely, can offer!” said President Horner presenting to the audience the newest members of the 54,000-strong ACG alumni community! The stadium filled with enthusiasm while the night sky lit up with bright and colorful fireworks to end a Ceremony that graduates, peers and supporters will forever cherish.

Congratulations Class of 2018 and best of luck to the journey that lies ahead!