BETHLEHEM – On May 25 – 26, 2017, Bethlehem University celebrated its 41st Graduation Ceremony. The first university in Palestine, founded in 1973 by the Congregation of Oriental Churches and by the Brothers of Christian Schools, awarded this year 675 Bachelor’s degrees and 44 Master’s degrees. Since its foundation, a total of 17,200 students graduated from this institution.
The Board of Directors, faculty deans, professors and the candidates for graduation joined the academic procession followed by the graduation ceremony which opened with several speeches including the address of Ms. Abeer Odeh, Palestinian Minister of Economy
. The new graduates also took the opportunity to thank all their professors and mentors of the different faculties. The diplomas were hand to the graduates by Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio and Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, assisted by Ms. Irene Hazou, Vice President for Academic Affairs.
This year, the faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences had the highest number of graduates with 115. They are assured of finding work quickly because their specialty is particularly sought after in Palestinian and Israeli societies. It is in this sector that the development efforts of the university are focused.
During the ceremony, Brother Joseph Lowenstein received a medal of recognition from the Vice-Chancellor and Vera Baboun, former mayor of the Bethlehem. Brother Joseph, a ninety-two-year-old New Yorker, spent thirty-five years at this university. He was Vice Chancellor in 1975 and he participated in the establishment of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Several years later, he was greatly admired by civil authorities, the people and university for his courage and devotion when it was necessary to defend the university during the First Intifada (1987-1993) – “I arrived as an American and I depart as a Palestinian.” he exclaimed at the conclusion of his speech.
Several personalities, such as the Governor of Bethlehem, the three new Christian mayors in the area, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, a university professor and member of the International Board of Regents of Bethlehem University, the Mufti of Bethlehem, representatives of the Legislative Council and the Ministry of Education were all present for the graduation ceremony.
From our correspondent in Bethlehem