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I've Won Another Top-Student Award at an American University

By Farooq A. Kperogi On April 24, 2009, I won Georgia State University's Department of Communication top Ph.D. student award. The award...

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.


  1. Congratulations Farooq! This is great! I can't believe you got your PhD work done. Can we officially call you "Professor" now?
    I hope you are planning on staying at GSU. They need more instructors like you! Enjoy this feeling of accomplishment.

  2. Thank you, Anni. I appreciate your kind comments. You too have made me proud with your outstanding performance as the best graduating journalism student. You're, without a doubt, one of the very best students I've ever had the privilege to teach. Keep it up!

  3. mohammed sani kadunaMay 8, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    farooq i had been reading your write-up from weekly trust,when you left unceremoniously i thought that was the end,but thanks to technology and blogging.i used you as a yardstick to measure someone's achievement,my friends use to tease me for that,now i feel like that's my personal achievement not yours,because i shall personally call my friends to celebrate with looking up to you.and most importantly don't get yourself involve in nigerian politics,its the most denigrated,selfish and stupid thing to do.congrats and may Allah be with you.

  4. Thanks, Mohammed. I am at once honored and flattered.

  5. Congrats, Farooq. I am proud of you because in a way, I have been a part of your story since 1989. More power to your elbow.

  6. Thanks, prof. Coming from you, this means a lot to me. I hope you're enjoying your new university in South Africa.


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