Blending into the vast sea of purple, a small band of graduating seniors from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) joined the graduation ceremony at its sister campus in the US – journeying more than 7,000 miles for the celebration.

Qatari senior Marium Saeed, who was honored with NU-Q’s student leadership, appreciated the chance to feel the different energy that comes with graduating with a larger class. She said:

I loved studying at a smaller campus and getting to know all of my professors and classmates, but being part of a much bigger celebration with our U.S. peers was an incredible experience.’

For NU-Q Dean Everette Dennis, this year’s graduating class was a special one. He said:

In large part because of their accomplishments, dedication and spirit. The 41 members of Qatar’s class of 2015 hail from 15 countries worldwide, including China, India, Egypt, Canada and Pakistan. Seventeen of the students graduated with academic honors, with 10 making the Dean’s List seven times. Many of them are going on to important media jobs and some of the world’s great graduate schools. We’ve never had a class quite like them. We hope every class gets better but this one is superb, spectacular and spirited.’

Though NU-Q’s fourth graduating class had its own ceremony in Qatar, 10 students traveled to Evanston to join the larger Northwestern community and represent their colleagues back home. During Senior Week events and other outings, the NU-Q students made new friends, reconnected with old ones and marveled at the beauty of the Evanston campus setting along Lake Michigan.

NU-Q’s Sophie Jiang said:

It was so nice to be part of the purple ocean and see everyone marching forward with life. It’s pretty exciting to join such a big family and see how it all works on a bigger scale.’

In addition to Jiang, the NU-Q students who participated in commencement in Evanston included Alanna Alexander, Amna Al Saadi, Mohammed Buhmaid, Nissryne Dib, Jaimee Lee Haddad, James Zach Hollo, Mahdiyeh Mahmoodzadeh, Marium Saeed and Farida Zahran.

As he conferred their degrees, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro tasked the group with making their mark on an international scale. Schapiro said:

We wish you well as you rise to the challenge of making meaningful contributions in the world of global media.’

Over the years, NU-Q students have excelled at creating innovative and meaningful content, with students recently producing a film that was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Students have published or worked in several prestigious publications, media and news companies, including Sports Illustrated, the Financial Times, The New York Times, Xinhua News Agency and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Last month, Dennis and several members of the Doha campus came to Evanston to showcase their work at an event called the Northwestern Experience in Qatar.

Northwestern University in Qatar draws from its parent organisation, Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), a distinguished history, world-renowned programmes and an exceptional faculty. Founded in partnership with Qatar Foundation, NU-Q provides a framework through which students explore the world and learn to shape its future within the distinguished schools of communication, journalism and liberal arts.