Dean Allyson Vanstone opened the event and welcomed the guests. "At Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, we are proud to be a long standing partner in the history and development of Education City. 2008 marks our first decade of providing excellence in design education and increasing the awareness of the design profession in Qatar and the region. Our alumni are making a positive impact and leading the future of design in the region." noted Allyson Vanstone VCUQatar Dean.
Dr Saif Al Hajari, Vice Chairman of the Qatar Foundation addressed the audience of VCUQatar faculty, staff and students about the early beginnings of the joint venture in 1998 and the special relationship that has developed between the Qatar Foundation and VCUQatar over a decade. Present in the audience were one of the early Director's of VCUQatar Alan Hing.
The first visit from Dr. Richard Toscan, Dean of the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, USA to meet with Qatar Foundation officials in Doha occurred in November of 1997. After this visit, the university was awarded a contract to establish Shaqab College of Design Arts with the first classes offered in September 1998. Since 1998, VCU's School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia, contracted with the Qatar Ministry of Education to provide the faculty and curriculum.
In 2001 Shaqab College of Design Arts became the VCU Qatar College of Design Arts, and then in 2002 it became a branch campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. The first VCU degrees were awarded to students who completed their course work in Qatar in June 2002.
Regarding the launch of the 10th year of operations in Doha Dr. Charles Bleick Associate Dean of Academic Affairs added, "The 10th Anniversary celebration will provide us the opportunity to not only look back at the significant contributions made by our graduates to the design industry in Qatar, but also to what VCUQatar must do to be in the forefront of the exciting changes occurring in Qatar and the region."
The year long celebration will culminate with a gala event in November 2008.
"We are so honored to be celebrating our 10th Anniversary as part of Education City. The celebrations we have planned will not only involve the school and students but will also involve the community over the academic year." said Donna Duffett VCUQatar Events Project Manager.