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Syeed delivers Baccalaureate address

Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America's Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, delivered the Baccalaureate address in Koury Center Friday, May 18. During the service, senior Thomas Barnett became the first Elon student to receive the Elon Medallion. Details...

Syeed's address, "The New Frontiers of Pluralism," stressed the important role the Class of 2007 will play in promoting global understanding.

Syeed, the first Muslim to address Elon's Baccalaureate, said the new century "has a special challenge and presents a special opportunity for our American youth, for our new graduates. You will be called upon to leadership positions on a global level."

The emerging Muslim community in America has created "a new resource in this already pluralist society," Syeed said. "This community adds a rich dimension to our nation's role internationally. American Muslims are a strong bridge between America and the Muslim world."

Syeed, who came to America in the 1970s, said Islam and America share a commitment to equality, democracy and freedom. "It is unfortunate that we lack those very values in most of the Muslim countries. (The American Muslim community) is specially qualified to bring about a reform within the world community of Islam."

Syeed is the first director of the Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, which works to enhance positive relationships and understandings between Muslim Americans, government agencies and Congressional representatives.

Senior Thomas Barnett was awarded the Elon Medallion during the service. The Medallion is awarded at the discretion of the President to members of the Elon community who have rendered outstanding service to the university. Although medical challenges prevented him from finishing his degree requirements, Barnett has been an exemplary student, an Honors Fellow and digital arts major. He has raised awareness on campus about accessibility for those with limited mobility and served as a consultant for a University of North Carolina accessibility study on its 16 campuses.

Michael Fels, assistant professor of art, read Barnett's medallion citation.

Click here to listen to remarks by President Leo M. Lambert and the citation read by Fels...

David Hibbard,
5/18/2007 5:28 PM