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Saudi designer and VCU alumna, Sonia Ashour to speak at VCUQatar Commencement

April 28, 2011

Sonia Ashour, founder and principal of A|G interior design consultants, will be the featured speaker at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatars commencement ceremony on 2 May, 2011.

Sonia Ashour is the co-founder of the Department of Interior Design at Dar Al- Hekma where she has also lectured in Foundation of Color, Graphics and Drawing. In 2001, Ashour founded A|G interior design consultants and has been the Principal since. Her firm handles high profile sovereign and cultural projects including embassies and residences for ambassadors for the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The UNESCO Arab Regional Center for World Heritage in Bahrain. Restoration projects include the late Minoru Yamasaki Airport in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and the Murad Guest House for the Ministry of Culture, Bahrain (a UNESCO world heritage nominated project).

Ashour is passionate about where she comes from and plays an active role in the field of academia. She teaches and advises on a volunteer basis at several Gulf-based universities and speaks on the subject of “Cultural Identity” at many conferences. She has conducted numerous cultural workshops including MENALAB 2010 in Dubai, UAE on “The preservation of Al-Khoor” and continues to act as a design and cultural advisor on many mega projects in the Gulf.

Sonia Ashour has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Architecture from King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in International Hospitality Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

Four Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar seniors have qualified to graduate with university honors. They are Khadija Khozema Safri, Mariam Mohamed Filio Al Sarraj, Natasha Nicole Sturko and Yasmeen Nabeel Suleiman.

The honors program at VCUQatar is modeled on the honors program at VCU Richmond, and was implemented six years ago. Dr. Timothy Hulsey, Dean of the Honors College at VCUR said, “The VCUQatar honors program has, in a very short time, become one of our proudest accomplishments. The graduates of this program represent the best of Virginia Commonwealth University.”

There are several requirements that must be met in order to graduate with honors. In addition to maintaining a minimum grade point average of 3.5 and completing 18 credits of honors course work, students must demonstrate a commitment to intellectual development that integrates a diverse program of study. The students must also complete an honors dossier that is presented to the Dean of the Honors College and the Honors Council in the penultimate semester of the student’s academic work. The dossier includes a comprehensive essay that demonstrates the central objectives of the Honors College: good scholarship and sound learning in the best of the university’s tradition.

Graduating with honors represents extraordinary academic excellence. Meghan Homer, coordinator of Academic Affairs at the Honors College at VCUR explained that graduating “with University Honors is the highest distinction students can earn at Virginia Commonwealth University. Those students who have entered the honors program at VCUQatar do so because they are committed to academic excellence. In reviewing the dossiers from our VCUQatar students, it becomes apparent that these students are not only passionate about art, but are articulate and professional. Aside from being talented and capable, they are highly motivated, inquisitive, and dedicated to the pursuit of experiences that will challenge them in everything they do. These are the students who actively seek out learning opportunities through independent study, research, and lecture attendance. We expect great things from them.”

The honors program at VCUQatar is coordinated by Dr. Byrad Yyelland, director of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Peter Martin, assistant professor of Graphic Design. They look forward to the continued growth and success of the honors program at VCUQatar and they, along with the VCUQatar community at large, congratulate the 2011 honors graduates on their impressive achievement.

VCUQatar commencement will be held on 2 May, 2011 at 5:00 PM at the Ritz Carlton, Doha.

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