Making history, Notre Dame University Bangladesh in Dhaka held its first Convocation, or Commencement Exercises, on December 18, 2019, conferring diplomas to 548 students in Business Administration, Computer Science and Engineering, Economics, English, and Laws. It was just a little over five years since the University's founding.
Notre Dame University Bangladesh is the first Catholic University in the predominantly Muslim nation. The country’s bishops had long been encouraging Holy Cross, which is well-known and respected in the country for its work in education, to found a university. Permission to found the university was finally received on April 29, 2013, and the first classes were held the following year on December 2, 2014.
Presiding at the event was Dr. Dipu Moni, M.P., the Minister of Education. Having once been a student at Holy Cross School and College in Dhaka, she recognized in her address the extraordinary contribution of Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters to the education sector since their arrival in East Bengal in 1853.
Dr. Kazi Shhidullah, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, which oversees universities on behalf of the government, spoke confidently of the promising future of Notre Dame University.
The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Fr. Thomas O’Hara, C.S.C., former President of King’s College and former Superior of the United States Province. Fr. O’Hara spent a year in Bangladesh during his formation years.
Fr. Patrick Gaffney, C.S.C., Vice-Chancellor of the University, welcomed those gathered for the auspicious occasion and congratulated the graduates, as did Fr. James Cruze, C.S.C., Superior of the Sacred Heart Province, which administers the university, Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, C.S.C., Archbishop of Dhaka, and Archbishop George Kocherry, Apostolic Nuncio of Bangladesh.
Given that this was Notre Dame University Bangladesh’s first convocation, it presented an opportunity to establish certain traditions. In this vein, the University community especially extends its gratitude to Fr. Adam Pereira, C.S.C., Registrar, and Fr. Leonard Shankar, C.S.C., Deputy Registrar, for their careful and extraordinary planning of this important event.
Several awards were inaugurated, including the Chancellor’s Gold Medal, the Vice-Chancellor’s Gold Medal, the Quinlivan Award, and the Archbishop Theotonius A. Ganguly Award. The Basil Anthony Moreau Award was also presented to two faculty members for their stellar teaching.
The ceremony concluded with the graduates’ Alumni Induction and Pledge of Loyalty. After the recessional, lunch and refreshments were served for the graduates and their guests in a beautifully decorated pavilion adjacent to the site of the Convocation.