CMU-Africa celebrates the Class of 2020

Staff Writer

May 18, 2020

On May 17th the Carnegie Mellon University community from around the globe came together to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2020. This was a historic celebration for the university which held its first virtual conferral of degrees ceremony for over 5000 graduates around the world.

 The 30-minute virtual celebration consisted of videos from various speakers from the class, university leadership as well as notable CMU alumni and deans of colleges among others.

"I am delighted to be conferring degrees on the outstanding cohort of graduates from the Class of 2020," said President Jahanian. "None of us expected our graduates' last semester at CMU to play out like this, but at every step, they have inspired us with their positive attitude and resiliency at this unprecedented time. The entire CMU community is excited to come together and pay tribute to their achievements, together with their families, loved ones and supporters."

66 graduates from CMU-Africa were conferred upon master’s degrees in information technology and in electrical and computer engineering. These graduates will join a network of 196 CMU-Africa alumni, 98% of whom work in Africa. CMU-Africa’s class of 2020 come from 12 nationalities, making it the most diverse cohort to graduate yet.

Following the virtual conferral of degrees, CMU-Africa hosted a virtual celebration for the Class of 2020 on our YouTube page.

We came as strangers from different African countries with different cultural backgrounds. Today we are departing as brothers and sisters. Our differences brought us together in our quest to achieve excellence

David Butera, Student speaker

CMU-Africa Director Vijayakumar Bhagavatula encouraged graduates to be proud of their achievements as they make their mark in the world.

“Class of 2020, your preparation at CMU-Africa has positioned you well to take these changes and challenges head-on and make this world a better place, “Bhagavatula said. “I am confident that you will use your skills wisely for bettering the world.”

Speaking on behalf of the graduating class, 2019 Student Guild President David Butera encouraged his classmates to always carry with them the values they received from Carnegie Mellon and to value the strength of the network they have built.

“All our experiences at CMU-Africa have shaped us to become who we are today. The education we got here is a blessing and the price of our degrees is a responsibility to make life better for others,” Butera said.

CMU-Africa recognizes extraordinary performance at the end of every academic year. The student awards were presented by Heinz College alumna and CMU-Africa’s Founding Director of Strategy, Crystal Rugege (HNZ’08).  Students who received the Lakshmi Subramanian Student Excellence Awards: Marlise Montcho, who graduated with a Master of Science in  Information Technology (MSIT), and Timothy Odonga, who graduated with a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MSECE). Oluwafemi Azeez, an MSECE graduate, received the Jeremiah N. Mpagazehe Rising Researcher Award.

Graduates also got to hear congratulatory remarks from the staff,faculty and students at CMU-Africa.