Graduation Became First Homecoming for Global Grads

May 22, 2009

Inviting graduating students from Greece, Japan and Portugal, the Information Networking Institute (INI) hosted its first-ever global graduation celebration in 2009. Since 2002, the INI has taught students internationally using a hybrid distributed education model, and typically the global grads have received their Carnegie Mellon diplomas during separate ceremonies at their locations. This year, the graduates traveled to Pittsburgh to join the INI festivities alongside their classmates.

To celebrate, the INI hosted a series of events for the visitors from May 14 to 17 that included a trolley tour of Pittsburgh, lunch on Mount Washington and a walking tour of campus led by INI graduate and WINI chair Aditi Pendharkar. The student organization GOINI, led by INI graduate Kalpana Chatnani, also coordinated a happy hour at a local Shady Side restaurant.

The INI diploma ceremony and reception took place on Saturday, May 16.  Many also went to the university-wide Carnegie Mellon Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 17, which featured Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. 

"Until now, I have felt that we were falling short in providing students at our international partner institutions with a 'true Carnegie Mellon experience.' Now, I realize that we have, in fact, redefined the Carnegie Mellon experience through our partnership programs in Greece, Japan and Portugal and our new Pittsburgh-Silicon Valley bicoastal programs," said Dena Haritos Tsamitis, Director of the INI, in her address during the INI diploma ceremony.

The INI's keynote speaker, Chinwe Abosi (Athens MSIN, 2007), acknowledged the strong sense of community at the INI and the global influence of INI alumni.

"Tonight, we are not Athens, we are not Kobe, we are not Aveiro, we are not Lisbon, and we are not Pittsburgh. We are all INI," said Abosi, who is currently pursuing a doctorate at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex, United Kingdom. 

The INI Class of 2009 is made up of 87 graduates from 14 different countries: China, Germany, Greece, Japan, Jordan, India, Lebanon, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.


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