Before I thank Gohar Sb, allow me to talk a little bit about the role of giving at LUMS.
It is a common misperception that LUMS is for the rich, for the elite and therefore inaccessible to the majority of Pakistani’s. This is simply not true. We are a private university, but we are also a not-for-profit institution. And as you saw in the video, we are not a school of privilege but rather a footprint of diversity from all corners of Pakistan.
This year applications at LUMS came from 162 towns, villages and cities in Azad Kashmir, Baluchistan, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan, ICT, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.
In other words, from all corners of Pakistan. This gives you a sense of our 1,100-student intake in terms of diversity.
As for accessibility, all applicants are treated on a needs-blind, full-merit basis. We provide financial support to one out of three students, and 10% are part of our National Outreach Program receiving full scholarships that covers onboarding, tuition, lodging, and supplies. It is the national outreach program which Gohar Sb is supporting which is now in its 19th year.
Since we do not get public funding, we rely on tuition, donations, grants and philanthropy. But this reliance has changed drastically. In the past, international sources such as USAid and DFId provided significant funding contributing almost in excess of PKR 250 million each year towards financial aid. But as these funds have dried up, and we can only meet this challenge to support diversity and accessibility by reaffirming our commitment.
It is a fair question to ask what makes LUMS top of its class, and why a LUMS education produces citizens that serve Pakistan and society at large. In the interest of time allow me to point to a few indicators.
LUMS began in 1985, with the business school and this year because the only internationally accredited program in Pakistan, represents a select 5% of all business-accredited programs worldwide. The business school differentiated itself by pioneering the Harvard case-teaching method with our faculty producing the largest repository of business cases – over 800 in all of Asia.
But today we are focusing on how your giving has changed the lives of our students.
You will be glad to know that LUMS produces more international Fulbright Scholars than any other university in the world. This year, our students continued to earn prestigious scholarships. Mr. Mansoor Rathore won Stanford University’s inaugural Knight Hennesy Scholarship. Shanza Faiq beat out 11,877 candidates to top the CSS exam. And there are many others who come back to serve the institution and Pakistan just as the NOP scholars do that you are supporting today.
Sir, I am fairly new to LUMS having served for only a year, but I can tell you that I had tears in my eyes on graduation night when I listened to Hattaf Ayub, NOP scholar and Student Council President who told us about taking a bus to get to Al-Abbas science school, 70km away from Dera Ismail Khan where he grew up.
I share these stories of what your generous giving produces and it is extremely humbling to be part of an institution like LUMS where I can witness its transformative ability up close.
I think all of us here can acknowledge the invaluable contribution of Founder and Patron of LUMS Syed Babar Ali Sb, who epitomises the spirit of giving, about humility and generosity. I am reminded by one of his famous sayings and I quote:
“Giving has never hurt anybody. It is about how big your heart is and not how deep your pocket is.”
Babar Sahab believed in creating a university in Pakistan which showcases how generous individuals can pave the path for many students to help forge a brighter future.
And today we have come together to acknowledge another exceptional individual.
Mr. Gohar Ejaz, CEO of Lake City Holdings has helped transform the lives of several deserving students at LUMS.
In 2017, Gohar Sb. generously donated PKR 20 Million to fund 20 students of the NOP program I mentioned earlier contributing to more than 1,100 students from over 77 cities from all across Pakistan who have benefitted from the NOP.
This year, Mr. Ejaz has graciously decided to continue his support, reiterating his confidence and faith in the potential of not just the students, but also in LUMS. His total donated amount of PKR 40 million will not just pay for the expenses of these 20 NOP scholars, but also exhibits his unwavering belief in their abilities. This must be celebrated for it has impacted them on an intrinsic level and empowered them to dream bigger than before.
Unfortunately, Babar Sahab and our Rector, Shahid Sahab had prior engagements today, but they send their thanks and deep gratitude to you for being a beacon of hope for these students and helping achieve the LUMS vision of world-class education.
Your generous support has played a pivotal role in fulfilling their commitment and on their behalf, I would like to convey their appreciation for your investment in the future of the University, and indeed, the nation. Thank you, Ejaz Sahab.
To continue achieving transformation for our young, this we must strive to create an inclusive space where no child is left behind. The African proverb it takes a village to raise a child sounds clichéd but rings true for LUMS that is a living, learning ecosystem to inculcate in our youth from all parts of Pakistan who cultivate values that promote a clear moral compass, generosity to nurture friendships and a greater purpose to serve others.
With your generous support, and with others like you here today, these students will tread forth with courage, conviction and integrity.