Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in Education City welcomed more than 90 new students at an orientation programme Hayakom, the Arabic word for ‘welcome’.

The event opened with an introduction from Katherine Magnum, VCUarts Qatar Director of Recruitment and Admissions, followed by a welcome note from Executive Dean, Dr Donald N Baker.

VCUartsQatar Hayakom 2019

Teslim Sanni, president of the Student Government Association (SGA) also took the stage to welcome the new students and to give them insights into what university life would be like. He stressed the importance of balancing academics with extra-curricular activities to ensure that everyone makes the most of their college years.

When you start taking classes, don’t let it take most of you. Participate in extracurricular activities and talk to people outside your circle. Make friends with students from other universities and professors from other departments. A 4.0 GPA is very important, but a real university experience is just as essential.

The best way to make the most of your years here is by networking. VCUarts Qatar has brilliant clubs and activities. Today is a remarkable milestone of your life. Be persistent, be hardworking and most definitely, have a great time.’

Sanni’s speech was followed by a welcome from 2004 alumna Amal Ameen who shared her journey and life after VCUarts Qatar. She is a successful designer and has several awards and accolades to her name.


Multiple sessions commenced around the campus thereafter, for expat freshmen to local Qatari students. A panel discussion also took place which welcomed new students and their parents.

Several chairs of the various departments – Fashion Design, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Painting and Printmaking, Art History, and Art Foundation took turns to explain their programmes. Fleming Jeffries, the Interim Director of the Painting and Printmaking department spoke about the contemporary art curriculum.

The event ended on a high note with a ‘Pick Up Party’, where successful students picked up their letters of acceptance. Ninety-two students from 19 nationalities – 54 Qataris – were admitted to various programmes.

To find out more about VCUarts Qatar, visit their website at