In 1998, Virginia Commonwealth University became the first university to open a campus at Education City in Doha, Qatar. In the nearly two decades since, eight universities from around the world have followed our lead, and higher education in the Middle East has been forever transformed.
Today, we celebrate the 15th graduating class of VCUQatar, as 62 students there earn their VCU degrees.
I am proud of these students and the wonderful legacy they are helping create, a legacy that is both historic and visionary. VCUQatar was the first school of the arts in the Middle East, offering bachelor degrees in graphic design, interior design, fashion design, and painting and printmaking, and a master of fine arts degree in design studies. VCU has helped Doha — a bustling capital city just like Richmond — become a place where world-class educational opportunities transform the city and its diverse people. And like Richmond, Doha is a place of infinite possibility, and our graduates are its new generation of leaders. They embody that boldest idea that human potential is still the greatest resource in our world, from the Middle East to the Mid-Atlantic.
They are also continuing a great legacy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Extraordinary students come to us from around the world and use their gifts and talents to change that world. No matter what our students study, and no matter where they study, we always ask that they share their gifts with their fellow human beings. I am proud of the many ways this happens on both sides of the globe.
Our VCUQatar students are passionate, creative and committed to sharing their gifts with a world that is desperate for innovation, including innovation through visual imagery. From one capital city to another, and from one part of VCU to another, the never-ending assurance that our graduates are going to use their talents and gifts to change the world — no matter where they live or where they go — inspires me today and always.
I congratulate these students, their families and their faculty mentors, and thank them for the ways that they are advancing Virginia Commonwealth University around the world.