Hafsat Adamu, a daughter of Nigeria’s Education minister, was among the top performers at the 10th Commencement Ceremony of the American University of Nigeria on Saturday.
Ms Adamu bagged the award for academic distinction as the best graduating student in English Language and Literature as well as the Royal Exchange Healthcare award for Academic Excellence.
She was among the 158 students who received their graduate and masters degrees and post-graduate diplomas at the AUN, Yola.
On Friday night, Benedict Egwuchukwu was announced as the valedictorian for the AUN Class of 2018 after he amassed a 3.90 Cumulative Grade Point Average (on a 4.0 scale).
Delivering his valedictorian speech at the ceremony on Saturday, Mr Egwuchukwu attributed his feat to days of hard work and several sleepless nights.
He said in his quest to earn a spot on the President’s List, a place reserved for top academic performers, he was nicknamed ‘Bookworm.’
But in his second year in the university, according to Mr Egwuchukwu, he decided to come out of his naturally introverted self and relate more with his colleagues.
“I decided not to let university pass through me,” he said.
“A few weeks ago, I received an email informing me that I’ve been shortlisted as a valedictorian,” Mr Egwuchukwu, a native of Imo State, told the gathering which included his parents and siblings as well as the university’s founder, former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
“To be honest, it was frightening, not because of the accolades but because of this moment when I have to stand before all of you to do this.
“People tend to shy away from challenges but my advice is to tackle them head on, the lessons learnt are invaluable.”
Earlier, Dawn Dekle, the AUN president, said although the AUN is based in the Northeast, it is intended to serve all of Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
“Our academic programs are grounded in the liberal arts and emphasize critical thinking. Our learning community is dedicated to diversity and tolerance, so all viewpoints are considered and debated. We don’t just teach, we transform.
“Students enter our university as eager learners, embracing a discovery-driven mindset. They exit the university as entrepreneurs and innovators, ready to assume professional and national leadership.”