Salih Menkulasi (’15): Commencement Speech

May 25, 2015
Salih Menkulasi (’15): Commencement Speech

The AUBG Class of 2015 student commencement speaker was Salih Menkulasi from Albania. Read below his speech:

Dear parents, faculty, staff, students, alumni, dear AUBG friends,

I welcome you to the commencement ceremony of the AUBG graduate class of 2015, the 21st class of AUBG graduates.

As I first entered AUBG, I found it small. Indeed, it was small and young, just like we all were 4 years ago. I met my class, who were all excited and full of energy, ready to step out of the club at 8 am in the morning to get ready for the 9 am lecture in the main building. A week later, I got to see everyone else, the sophomores coming back from their first summer since college started: twice as confident, but not less excited, and very willing to be our guides. I saw the juniors returning enriched and full of plans and ideas. I also saw some seniors hiding behind the doors of Skaptopara 3, acting all grumpy and unsociable toward the immature and foolish freshmen. I cannot believe we are those guys today. I cannot believe all those amazing people have already left. I cannot believe we are the ones leaving now.

Throughout my journey in this institution, I met so many people coming out of all classes of graduates, from 1995 to 2014. Graduate students, businessmen, politicians, professors, developers, writers, journalists, and members of the Board of Trustees. I stumbled upon so many of them, all different. Yet, they all asked me the same questions: “How are things at AUBG going? Is this professor still teaching? Do students still go to this nightclub?” Getting to know all those individuals during my 4 years of undergraduate studies, reassured me: This institution is indeed still young and small, but it has such a big family. And this is what makes it so special: it’s a great AUBG alumni family, and we are all here today to become part of it.

A few words to all of you who are here today:

Dear parents, thank you for supporting our journey, thank you for being pushers without being pushy, and thank you for proudly carrying our pictures where you once used to carry money. I hope you are all proud of us, and that you become prouder of what is to become of us.

Dear donors, you are the reason this institution started, and the reason it still holds. Thank you for allowing us to live what some of you have already lived. Thank you for being part of this big project and allowing us all to join it.

Dear faculty, thank you so much for teaching us with all your passion and dedication, and not so much for scheduling those classes at 9 am sometimes. During a 9 am lecture, my Corporate Finance professor once admitted: “I am very productive during the late hours, in fact, I am teaching this class in the middle of the night.” Thank you for not giving up on us, and thank you for the change you brought to us.

Dear students… well… I should call you graduates now. Thank you for being each other’s companions. Thank you for making it sounds like it is not all only about studying, for joining clubs, for organizing so many activities and events, for bringing music and life to this place, and making it feel truly diverse and international, for making not only brilliant students but also excellent members of the community. Our bonding is eternal. We have marked our existence in each other’s minds and hearts, and we have marked our existence in this school. We are now a reflection of what this institution is, so let us give back our best.

Now let us all celebrate, for there is life after graduation, and it is neither better nor worse, it is just….different. A new chapter begins. Thank you!