The first batch of LUMS students graduated over three decades ago, but when over 300 alumni from the Business School returned to campus on February 29, 2020, it seemed that nothing had changed. No matter their year of graduation, the alumni had one thing in common: they were home.
Organised by the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) Luminites Association, the event marked an opportunity for SDSB alumni to get together, reminisce and reconnect. Highlights of the evening were the ‘Pride of LUMS’ awards and celebration of ‘Rising Luminites’, who have done exceptionally well in their professional careers.
The event was attended by Syed Babar Ali, Founding Pro Chancellor LUMS; Shahid Hussain, Rector LUMS; Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor LUMS; Nuzhat Kamran, Director Office of Advancement LUMS; Fahad Ashraf, General Manager The Coca-Cola Company; Samer Chedid, CEO Nestle; Furqan Syed, CEO PepsiCo; Sunny Yang, CEO TCL; Faisal Dawood, Vice Chairman Descon and senior leadership team of Descon including Imran Qureshi and Nadeem Bajwa.
The evening commenced with a note by Ms. Kamran, who warmly welcomed the attendees. A LUMS and SDSB alumna herself, her note in particular resonated with the audience. She spoke of the importance of staying connected with their alma mater and shared a number of initiatives taken by the University to increase engagement with its graduates all over the world.
President of the Alumni Association, Majid Munir also welcomed the alumni and thanked them for joining the event. He updated the audience about the various events and activities that the Association has led in the last year, and explained that their focus has been on networking, thought leadership and paying it forward. He said, “Our aim is to strengthen linkages that can benefit LUMS, its alumni and the industry to help position the University as the premier centre of higher learning. We are actively encouraging our alumni to get involved at a personal level, and also by engaging the companies that they work for with LUMS.”
Mr. Munir also appreciated the Board Members of the Association for their tireless efforts and instrumental support. He highlighted the strength of the alumni body, and commended Mr. Ahsan Sheikh, Class of 1998, who led the initiative to put together a PKR 18 million fully capitalised endowment fund with the support of all of his batch mates. He also thanked and acknowledged the sponsors of the event for their support: Head and Shoulders and HBL were gold sponsors and PEL was a silver sponsor.
Ahsan Sheikh, Alumni Association Board Member, talked about his transformational experience at LUMS and how that motivated his efforts. He also emphasised the role of alumni. “It can look very daunting, but given what our University has done for us, together, we all can play a key role and commit to giving back.”
Dr. Ahmad also addressed the alumni and talked about collaborating with them to solve the grand challenges of the region. He said, “I am very pleased that we are celebrating our high achievers today. You have seen the impact of innovation and transformation on the front lines, and therefore know how profoundly these efforts can change lives. We must usher in a new era of university industry partnerships for Pakistani companies.
“We need you to connect us with research and development projects, broker honest conversations within and across business sectors, and invest in the intellectual capital at LUMS. I would like to encourage you to continue to open doors for others to learn, relearn, imagine and to reimagine.”
Vice President of the Association, Anwar Kabir then talked about the Rising Luminite awards. “This initiative was designed in order to engage with our Luminites and recognise them and connect them with our great LUMS community.” He went on to introduce the Pride of LUMS award and the recipients: Dr. Osama Siddique, MBA 1993, a Rhodes Scholar, and Ayesha Raza Farooq, MBA 1995, a recipient of the Sitara-i-Imtiaz. Distinguished leaders from the business community were also requested to join the stage and present the Rising Luminites awards to 35 alumni from across the government, public and private sectors.
The highlight of the evening was when Syed Babar Ali shared a few words of appreciation with the audience. “I am grateful to be here today and see all the wonderful alumni here together and witness the bonding and renewal of friendships. I am very proud to have been associated with this journey from the very beginning. To see all the wonderful alumni here together is like seeing your own children grow up, mature, and take over the world.”
While acknowledging the accomplishments of the alumni, he also encouraged the audience to look to the future. He stressed the importance of giving back to one’s alma mater, and urged the alumni to make a commitment of donating one day’s salary to LUMS each year in order to benefit the next generation.
The ceremony was followed by dinner, and a special music performance by the most recent winners of Pepsi Battle of the Bands. The alumni spent the evening reminiscing over the wonderful memories they made at LUMS, and how as they gathered at their University again, it felt like little had changed.