James Shera and Nafees Zakaria
awarded honorary PHD degrees


LAHORE: A prestigious ceremony of virtual commencement of Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) was held on Saturday, 27 February at 11:00 AM in which 876 students graduated. 23 Baccalaureate and 16 Postgraduate students were awarded different medals. 

Two honorary PhD degrees were awarded to Dr James Shera and Ambassador Mohammad Nafees Zakaria. His Excellency Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, Governor of the Punjab graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. The ceremony commenced with opening remarks of Dr Nayer Fardows, Registrar followed by recitation of the Holy Quran and reading from the Holy Bible.  

Governor Mohammad Sarwar

Dr Jonathan S Addleton, Rector in his welcome address said, “we look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming months including at that post-pandemic graduation celebration that we have promised you when you return to Forman once again and we can together celebrate in person and with your families on campus everything that is good and lasting about your unique Forman experience.” 

Medals were awarded to 23 Baccalaureate and 16 Postgraduate students during the ceremony. The hallmark of the commencement was Honourable Governor address at the occasion. While speaking virtually to the audience, graduating students and their parents, the Governor congratulated them with their amazing academic accomplishments. 

The Governor addressed to the graduating students that you are a trailblazer, a Champion, and a Scholar ready to apply your acquired knowledge to enhance and advance this world we live in. The Governor said that many of you are understandably frustrated due to canceled ceremonies, celebrations, and annual traditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. James Shera

Others are suffering immensely from the loss of loved ones, financial instability, and the uncertainty of the future of all industries; however, switching to remote learning in the past year created a new reality that you all continue to adjust to. 

The Governor further said that during this global change, it is very important to pause as we acknowledge your resilience, intellect, and grit. You have met all the academic requirements of your programme and were forced to immediately learn the larger life lessons of “nothing is promised” and the “uncertainty of tomorrow”. Your adjustment and preparation for the future is going to require practical skills that exit beyond face-to-face and virtual classroom instruction.

The Governor further added that Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) is known for its inclusive and diverse student body and the prestigious institute has been able to accomplish a lot more than just bridging a divide. The legacy of FCCU spans 155 years of quality education. This institute has produced leaders in all walks of life since 1864 and now you too are a part of this amazing legacy. 

M. Nafees Zakaria

The Chief Guest hoped that students must take the lessons learned in the university and embrace the challenges in their paths. He advised that do not be aimless, even the wind, though it seems to blow aimlessly has a definitive purpose. 

A brighter future will not appear by natural law, it will need to be built, created by connected thoughts actions of myriads of individuals who are beset by the passion to make the world a better place not just for themselves, but for the generations to come. In the end, the Governor again congratulated the graduating students especially Dr James Shera and Mr Nafees Zakria for being honoured with Honorary PhD degrees in Arts and Letters.

Dr Peter H Armacost, former Rector of the university also addressed the graduating students through a video message from the US. He congratulated the graduating class and hoped that this is just the beginning of a lifetime of learning and stressed the students to continue to grow and develop through the years ahead. He noted that today FCCU stands tall among institutions of higher education in Pakistan and the region and has made progress by leaps and bounds since denationalisation. 

“New academic programmes have been introduced. College education continues to improve dramatically”. He said the restoration of international standards is also being done at FCCU. 

Forman Christian College, Lahore

Dr Armacost told the graduating class that they have every reason to be proud of their alma mater just as it is proud of them. He congratulated them on completing their academic programmes and meeting all the graduation requirements.

The Commencement also saw conferment of Honourary Doctorate in Arts and Letters to Dr James Shera and Ambassador Mohammad Nafees Zakaria. Both PhD awardees addressed the ceremony and thanked the Patron and the Board of Governors for the award of honorary PhD degrees to them. 

On the occasion, the Outstanding Teacher Award was given to Maryam Qasim Khan, Outstanding Customer Service Award (Administrative) was given to Zamran Gill and the Outstanding Customer Service Award (Non-Administrative) was awarded to Haroon Rasheed.

The ceremony was closed with the closing prayer by Dr Douglas Trimble, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs.