Bethlehem University proudly held its 47th graduation ceremonies on 20 and 21 July 2023, honoring and conferring degrees upon 777 graduates. The graduates hailed from various faculties, including the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism, Shucri Ibrahim Dabdoub Faculty of Business Administration, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Technology and Engineering, and the Tarek Juffali Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences.
The ceremonies were graced by distinguished guests, including members of the University’s Board of Trustees, the Mayor of Bethlehem, representatives of Bethlehem Governorate, faculty members, graduates’ families, and a multitude of legal, official, and prominent personalities, clerics, and representatives from civil institutions and the local community. This ceremony holds special significance as it coincides with Bethlehem University’s 50th anniversary since its founding in 1973.
Tamador Abu Laban, an Instructor at the Arabic Department, served as the Master of Ceremonies, opening the event with the National Anthem of Palestine, followed by the University Anthem.
Brother Peter Bray, FSC, EdD, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, conveyed his heartfelt congratulations to the graduates and their families, highlighting the joyous celebration of the 47th cohort in this special Jubilee year. He also emphasized the significance of Bethlehem University, which has produced more than 20,000 graduates over the years. He praised the dedication of the graduates who have spent the past four years preparing themselves to serve Palestine in their future careers.
Mr. Ibrahim Milhim, Spokesperson for the Palestinian Government, graced the ceremony as the guest speaker on the first day. Recalling his early days at the university, he expressed his appreciation for the enriching environment that encouraged diversity of thought and nurtured students’ character and talents. He congratulated the University on its golden jubilee and commended the hard work and dedication of the graduates.
During the second day, Bethlehem University bestowed an honorary doctorate to Dr. Irene Hazou, Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Hazo, who was one of the pioneering 112 students to step foot on the university’s campus during its establishment fifty years ago, has contributed significantly to the university’s growth and academic excellence.
Her journey at Bethlehem University began as a mathematics student, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree before pursuing advanced studies and earning her master’s and doctoral degrees. Eventually, she returned to Bethlehem University as a mathematics lecturer and progressed through various administrative positions, eventually reaching the esteemed position of Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2013. This notable achievement marked her as the first Palestinian and first woman to hold this crucial role at the university.
The decision to award an honorary doctorate to Dr. Hazou was accompanied by heartfelt justifications, narrated by Dr. Muna Matar, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. As Dr. Hazou prepares for retirement, this momentous occasion served as a fitting recognition of her extraordinary contributions to academia and the university community.
During the ceremony, Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, proudly presented the honorary doctorate to Dr. Hazou, acknowledging her dedication and commitment to the values and mission of Bethlehem University.
In her acceptance speech, Dr. Hazou expressed profound gratitude to Bethlehem University for bestowing this prestigious honor upon her. She emphasized the profound impact the university has had on her personal, family, and national life. Bethlehem University’s unwavering support and commitment to excellence have played a fundamental role in shaping her academic and professional journey.
Matilda Rishmawi, a first-class honors student, and Marian Abedrabbo, the class of 2023 valedictorian, delivered the graduate speeches on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Both graduates expressed hope for the future and pride in their achievements and those of their fellow classmates. They extended their gratitude to the faculty and staff of Bethlehem University for their unwavering dedication, patience, and inspiration.
During the ceremonies, Br. Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, assisted by Dr. Irene Hazou, Vice President of Academic Affairs, presented the degrees and diplomas to the graduates, marking the culmination of their hard work and academic journey.
Furthermore, Rina Manzo, an outstanding student from the Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism, was honored with the Mrs. Widad Abu Dayyah Award for Academic Excellence in the field of hotel management and tourism. The award recognizes her exceptional academic performance, granting her a cash prize of two thousand US dollars and a certificate of academic excellence.
Bethlehem University’s 47th graduation ceremonies were a resounding success, commemorating the accomplishments of its graduates and reaffirming its commitment to excellence in education.
Photos of Day 1:
Photos of Day 2: