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Embarking on New Beginnings: Deree Commencement 2023 Pays Tribute to Graduates

On Saturday, June 24, a mesmerizing display of fireworks illuminated the night sky above the Aghia Paraskevi campus. The joyful atmosphere was heightened as a multitude of newly minted Deree graduates jubilantly threw their caps into the air while resounding applause echoed from their elated family and friends who had congregated at the ACG stadium to celebrate the 2023 Deree Commencement Ceremony.

President David G. Horner gave the welcoming address and celebrated this year’s significant achievements, such as the establishment of the Pierce Elementary School and recognition of The American University of Greece as our Global Campus in the US. While acknowledging ACG’s 100-year milestone since its relocation and rebirth in Athens, he applauded the graduates’ perseverance, agility and unwavering commitment.

Graduates, we are so very, very proud of you! Tonight’s ceremony is dedicated to undergraduate graduates, the first to receive their degrees from The American University of Greece, as authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for academic work completed at Deree – ACG. We are mindful that our graduates did not do all that they have done alone. And so, we recognize and welcome tonight all those who are here in person or in spirit who represent the supporting casts of our graduates.

The US Ambassador to Greece, George James Tsunis, addressed the graduates and conveyed greetings on behalf of the American people, acknowledging our shared commitment to education and gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with ACG to pursue our mutual agenda for the people of Greece and beyond.

Feel secure that you are equipped with an outstanding education and that your parents and teachers not only sought to give you an outstanding education, they gave you values and principles as well, as we seek to educate the whole person, not just the mind or the soul and the heart. Extend gratitude first to your parents and then extend it to your educators, for you owe your life to your mother, but you owe the fact that you have an enlightened life to your educators. Go forth, dare, be different, cut across the grain, take care of each other and have great lives!

Angela Yazji, graduating with a major in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, delivered the Student Address to her fellow graduates. In her inspiring speech, Angela shared her profound journey as an international student, highlighting the transformative power of embracing opportunities at Deree that expanded her knowledge, broadened her horizons, and cultivated invaluable connections with extraordinary individuals from diverse walks of life.

As we stand here on the brink of a new chapter in our lives, let us reflect on the lessons we have learned throughout this incredible journey. Let us remember that setbacks are not failures but stepping stones to success. Let us carry the spirit within us, however, you may identify this spirit and let it navigate the uncertain paths that lie ahead. Let us not forget the sacrifices made by our families, friends, and mentors who have supported us on this remarkable journey. As we step into the future, let us embrace the challenges and uncertainties with confidence. Let us use the knowledge and skills we have acquired to make a positive impact in our respective fields and communities. And let us never forget the transformative power of education and the experiences we gained as students.

Every year, ACG confers honorary degrees on distinguished leaders who rank among the most influential academicians, artists, politicians and philanthropists in the world. This year’s honorary doctorates were awarded to the following inspirational individuals whose unwavering dedication, tireless efforts and unyielding spirit have transformed numerous lives for the greater good: Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO, Margaret Atwood, world-renowned writer, James E. Ryan, President of the University of Virginia, and John Calamos, Founder, Chairman and Global Chief Investment Officer at Calamos Asset Management. The distinguished recipients of the 2023 Honoris Causa awards embody the exceptional standards of personal and professional achievements, as well as significant contributions to society, that are deeply valued by ACG. With their induction, they join the esteemed ranks of 93 individuals who have attained the pinnacle of recognition in their respective fields.

Excitement alternated with praise at the closing of the ceremony as each graduate was individually recognized at the conferral of the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. Numerous Deree students were honored for their remarkable academic accomplishments with the Undergraduate Academic Achievement Award and the Open University Undergraduate Achievement Award, conferred by the Head of The Open University Validation Partnerships & Operations, Catherine Bland.

The highly anticipated Deree Commencement Ceremony came to a triumphant close! With immense pride and admiration, the ACG community, along with esteemed guests, applauded the remarkable achievements of 394 students from 22 countries worldwide. These exceptional individuals were praised for their relentless dedication, unwavering perseverance, resolute determination and outstanding accomplishments that guided them to the significant milestone of their collegiate journey, Graduation Day!

As the newest members of the ACG community, the graduates of the Deree Class of 2023 join the extensive network of nearly 65,000 ACG Alumni across Greece and around the world. With immense pride and admiration, the ACG community extends heartfelt congratulations to the graduates and offers them the best of luck as they embark on their future endeavors.