Alumni Homecoming 2021: LUMS Founders Come Together for Captivating Conversation on the University’s 35 Years
Since its inception, LUMS has strived to create a learning experience that prepares its graduates to become leaders and change-makers, creating national and global impact. Today LUMS houses five schools, has a rich and diverse student body and is placed in the top 251-300 Asian universities in the Times Higher Education 2020 rankings.
To share their experiences from the University’s early days and discuss the milestones it has achieved, LUMS founders, Syed Babar Ali, Founding Pro Chancellor; Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Pro Chancellor and Dr. Parvez Hassan, Member Board of Trustees, joined Rector, Mr. Shahid Hussain for the Founder’s Friday session. Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad, moderated the session, which was part of the Alumni Homecoming 2021 festivities. Over 800 attendees from around the globe tuned in to this live event.
Dr. Ahmad began the session by asking the founding members about their experience of working together over the years. For Syed Babar Ali, mutual respect was a huge part of the relationship. “The secret is that we had respect for each other. Nobody doubted each other’s intention. There was total confidence and faith, and there was no forbidden territory where you couldn’t challenge each other’s thinking.”
Mr. Dawood agreed with Mr. Ali and explained that the founders had a common vision. They each wanted to make a world-class educational experience accessible to students, regardless of financial circumstances. They also believed that there should be a strong focus on merit, the quality of the programmes, and the excellence of faculty. By keeping these common goals in mind, the founders were able to make decisions based on what would be best for LUMS, and they stayed aligned with each other in the process.
All three founders have remained committed to the LUMS vision and expressed pride at how far the University had come.
Mr. Ali especially emphasised how rewarding it is to meet and hear from alumni spread across continents. “I love interacting with our alumni. We started LUMS because we believed in serving Pakistan by creating a cadre of young men and women who would go on to serve Pakistan. We have succeeded, as 14,000 is not a small number. Our alumni have gone into the real world, where they have interacted, and succeeded in the most competitive environments; they’re spread all over the world.”
Commenting that “the values of merit, integrity and ethics remain at the heart of LUMS,” Mr. Hussain outlined the various recent developments at the University. He highlighted LUMS’ increasing focus on research and innovation and explained how the transdisciplinary centres at the University gave faculty and students the opportunity to come together and solve the country’s most pressing problems.
Mr. Dawood said that it was heartening to see how despite being a young university, LUMS was already playing an important role in the progress of the country. “What we’ve achieved in quite a short time is quite remarkable. I look at the strength of our schools and the contributions we make and believe we’re certainly on the right track. I am sure a time will come when LUMS will have noble laureates walking on its hallowed grounds. My hope is that we will become an institution others would like to model on; a beacon for others to follow in developing the country.”
Echoing these sentiments, Dr. Hassan shared that increasing collaborations and partnerships, both within LUMS and with the broader community, would certainly position LUMS as a national leader. “With our quality of students and faculty and all that we’ve gained in the last 35 years, I think the next 35 years look very promising. If we can continue making small efforts to the issues such as climate change, sustainability, energy, and water scarcity, LUMS can provide the compass for national thinking and regional leadership in these areas.”
The session ended with Syed Babar Ali inviting alumni to donate to the University’s Give a Day campaign. “The future of the University is in the hands of the alumni. My plea to you is to consider donating one day’s income towards our scholarship programme, so that we can support anyone who gets admitted to LUMS and help them complete their education.”
Dr. Ahmad then thanked the guests and said that it was a privilege to have had the opportunity to hear their thoughts on the University’s growth and the path forward.
The alumni that had tuned in also enjoyed the session with the founders of their alma mater. Sarah Beg (MBA 1993) commented, “So good to see Babar sahib and Razzak sahib here. I'm from one of the earliest batches, and am proud to be an alumna of this great institution.” Fatima Asad-Said (MBA 1997) expressed appreciation for the efforts of the panellists towards education in the country and shared, “A truly inspirational panel and so grateful for their continued contributions to Pakistan!”