An Accounting graduate at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Benedict Egwuchukwu, was Friday named the best graduating student of the university.
An indigene of Imo State, Mr Egwuchukwu scored a 3.90 Cumulative Grade Point Average (on a 4.0 scale) to bag the Award for Academic Excellence at the awards ceremony held at the university.
He also bagged awards for the best graduating student in Accounting, best graduating student in the School of Business and Entrepreneurship, VPAA and Provost’s award for academic excellence, Haruna Musa award for Academic Excellence, and Afrinvest award for Academic Excellence.
“This awards ceremony is amongst the most treasured occasions at AUN, as it provides us an opportunity to remember the achievements of the last year, and to honor those students who went above and beyond to contribute to AUN,” said Dawn Dekle, the AUN President.
“The graduation awards are meant to recognize excellence and foster competitive spirit. Our graduating seniors have excelled in academics, community service, athletics, and leadership. They have made us proud, and also brought international recognition to AUN.”
Twenty five other graduates, including three post graduate students, received awards for academic excellence during the ceremony.
Ms Dekle, a professor, commended the award recepients for the hard work they put in during their stay at the university.
“Hard work brings success. It’s often said that there are no short cuts in life, but wherever you intend to go, hard work will be the most direct route for getting there.
“I hope all of you graduating seniors will keep that in mind as you move forward from AUN and onto the path that awaits you.”
How we excelled
Some of the award recipients who spoke to newsmen said they were grateful to the university for providing an enabling environment for their excellence.
“I feel happy and grateful, I’m sure if I had gone to another school, I probably won’t be able to reach my potential,” said Fatima Abubakar Jauro, a Taraba State indigene who won the best graduating student in Economics with a CGPA of 3.89.
“I’ve always wanted to study Economics since SS1, so I’ve been so passionate about it, so I was scared that if I go to another school they won’t give me that Economics. So coming to AUN, considering that I got what I wanted, I tried to put my all. I was passionate about it that was why everything was so easy and sweet.”
Abubakar Musa Bala, who got the Stanbic IBTC award for academic excellence, said he was involved in community service during his stay at the University.
“If you look at the exams nowadays like the JAMB exams, it is computer-based and most students are not privileged to have computers in their schools, most of them don’t know how to use these computers,” said Mr Bala, who started an NGO named AMB Foundation to train secondary school students from public schools in Yola on basic information and communications technology and computer based tests.
“In a situation whereby an exam that is very critical to every student’s success, like JAMB exams is the key to university. so if you don’t know how to use the computer definitely you will not be able to pass JAMB exams,” said Mr Bala, a graduate of Software Engineering, who also bagged the Sigma Pension Award for Community Service.
“During my internship in one JAMB centre, I noticed many students struggling with mouse, it takes five to ten minutes for a student to answer a single question. So if a student knows what he’s doing but he doesn’t know how to use the computer, it will be very difficult for him to pass the exams.”
Kazayet Zachariah, a graduate of Business Administration, said he was speechless when he discovered he would be graduating with a CGPA of 3.77.
“I competed for Mr and Mrs AUN and I won it in 2016,” Mr Zachariah, the best graduating student in Business Administration, said.
“I was the president of the Creativity Club for two years, I became the director of Public Relations in the SGA (Student Government Association), I became the president of the Non-denominational Christian Fellowship, and then the captain of the basketball team.
“So I held on to a lot of extra-curricular activities while still maintaining my academic excellence. It wasn’t easy at all, it took a lot planning to be able to make it to many rehearsals and still be able to catch up with my school work, so a lot of planning and prioritising.”