By Farooq A. Kperogi
On April 24, 2009, I won Georgia State University's Department of Communication top Ph.D. student award. The award, officially called the "Outstanding Academic Achievement Award," is given to a Ph.D. student who has completed his doctoral coursework, "has an exceptional accumulated GPA, and has demonstrated excellence in his or her chosen field of study."
It is awarded annually to a Ph.D. student whose course grades and academic publication record are adjudged the best by professors in the department. So you can imagine how honored I am by the award.
Click on the image to read the text
Unfortunately, I missed attending the award ceremony because of a scheduling conflict. So I have no pictures of me receiving the award. But below is the official congratulatory message to me over the award. It was posted on the departmental noticeboard:
This exhilarating news came on the heels of the completion of my Ph.D. coursework and the passing of my comprehensive examination, that dreaded exam that weighed me down like an incubus and kept me awake for three straight days on end!
A few years ago, I also won an award as the top graduating master's degree student in communication at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.
That's me by the right receiving the award
I am frankly humbled by these awards. And I owe a debt of gratitude first to my parents who brought me up to cherish the virtues of hard work, to my professors at the University of Louisiana and at the Georgia State University from whose fountain of professorial wisdom I continue to drink, and to my professors at the Bayero University, Kano (my undergraduate university in Nigeria which also awarded me the Nigerian Television Authority Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Mass Communications) who first provoked my intellectual curiosity.
Me receiving my award from the Vice Chancellor (President) of Bayero University Kano, Professor Bello B. Dambatta
It's not my tradition to brag about-- or to even celebrate-- my personal triumphs. This is a holdover from my upbringing. My dad, one of the humblest and most self-effacing human beings I have ever known, has taught me from a very early age that bragging about one's achievements diminishes the worth of the achievements.
"There is nobility in modesty," he often told me. That is why he didn't make a song and dance about my academic achievements in my elementary school where he was and still is a teacher (he will be retiring in about 4 years)and discouraged me from celebrating my achievement as the best graduating student of my high school.
Although sharing news of this award with my readers by no means constitutes bragging about or celebrating my achievement, I still had a lot of reluctance writing this. But when you are overcome with tremendous excitement, it's hard to resist the urge to share your joy with well-wishers, especially if you have a blog that provides a ready platform for the expression of one's feelings and thoughts.
I hope this post will be understood in the spirit in which it was meant.