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MSU MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program Celebrates 2017 Graduates

Published: Monday, 08 May 2017
Author: The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean

MSU's MasterCard Foundation Graduating Scholars were celebrated at the program's graduation reception on May 3. The 2017 class represents a significant milestone because of its size—the 10 undergraduate and 12 graduate scholars represent the largest graduating class that the program has ever had. Additionally, 2017 marks the midway point of the Foundation's partnership with MSU.

Leading the reception was Dr. Chinwe Effiong, the Assistant Dean of the program. Dr. Effiong congratulated the graduates and reassured them that though MSU anticipates a bright future for them, there will be some uncharted waters and unexpected obstacles. However, she encouraged them to be productive and intentional in everything they do.

"My advice to you is to look around. There is work to do everywhere," Dr. Effiong said. "Whatever your hands find to do, do it with enthusiasm.  Remember there is a difference between employment and success because the two, while mutually reinforcing, are not necessarily synonymous."

Following Dr. Effiong was class speaker Jalang Conteh, a senior Scholar from The Gambia, who graduated with a major in human biology. Conteh's touching speech gave thanks to the program for its impact on the Scholars' lives. Her speech focused on how the program prepared the Scholars to be successful leaders.

"This new—found, deep love of self and continent, this compassion, is essential for the transformative vision of our communities and countries that we all share as MasterCard Foundation Scholars," Conteh said. "It is beautiful that amongst us are Scholars with different dreams and yet all share one vision, one mission, and one MasterCard Foundation Scholars pride."

Dr. Steve Hanson, Associate Provost and Dean of International Studies and Programs, expressed his pride in the Scholars and all of their accomplishments.

"You are all part of a new generation of leaders emerging across Africa who are at the frontlines of change, innovation, and transformation," Hanson said. "MSU is proud to be a part of this transformation and cherish the opportunity we have to contribute to your career development and, by extension, the transformation of Africa."

Since graduation, the Scholars have already planned out their next steps. Some Scholars are returning to Africa, while others are continuing their education and career development in the United States.

As the Scholars prepared for their departure from MSU, Dr. Effiong left the students with a thoughtful note:

"As you commemorate this important milestone in your life, we hope that you do not view your graduation from MSU as the end of the journey, but rather the beginning of a life of service and partnership with MSU and other MasterCard Foundation Scholars. This journey, while punctuated with trials, frustrations, and challenges, will ultimately read as a story of tremendous courage, exciting adventures, unimaginable breakthroughs, and amazing impact and transformation of lives. "



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