Degree Speeches
Summer 2002

H E Dr Mohammed J K Alghatam

Public Orator, Professor Ron McCaffer, presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Congregation held on the afternoon of Thursday 11 July 2002.


It is always a pleasure to introduce an honorary graduand to Congregation, but even more so when the subject is one of our own.

And that is certainly the case with Dr Mohammed Alghatam.

We are delighted to welcome him back to the place where he spent much of his intellectual youth, and equally delighted that on this occasion he is accompanied by his wife and six children. You are all more than welcome.

Dr Alghatam was always hungry for academic achievement and he has been awarded a host of certificates and diplomas in mechanical and electrical engineering from institutes in his native Bahrein, in the United Kingdom, and in the United States of America.

We first met him at here Loughborough in 1977 when he came to us to study for an MSc based on an analysis of stress, fluid flow and heat transfer. He evidently approved of us for he stayed on in the Department of Mechanical Engineering to complete a PhD in computer-simulated energy.

Mohammed returned to Bahrein, spending ten years in the private sector and then twenty years in his country’s military defence force. Workaholic that he is, he went back to study, this time obtaining a Master’s degree in Military Art and Science from the Army Staff College in Kansas, U.S.A.

He won accolades along the way, being decorated many times both at home and abroad. His honours include seven military decorations and medals, His Highness the Crown Prince’s Prize for engineering research, and the State Recognition Prize for distinguished national achievements. France made him a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

These awards speak for themselves, and mark out Dr Alghatam as a man of exceptional energy and achievement.

But it is not for this that we honour him today. We do so primarily because of his third career.

For in 1995, drawing on his impressive record of academic achievement, he returned to the arena of higher education as President of the University of Bahrein.

With typical energy and panache he fought to give it a more robust constitution, insisting on – and achieving – an emphasis on the healthy tradition of intellectual rigour. During his period in office he transformed the university’s reputation, making it one of the most vibrant academic centres in the United Arab Emirates.

He has always remained a good friend of Loughborough, his alma mater and signed a memorandum of understanding with Loughborough to promote partnership ventures and joint initiatives.

His success as President inevitably led to his departure from the post.

His qualities were fully recognised and he was appointed Bahrein’s Minister of Education. He is now in a position to transform every other academic institution in his country.

We are proud that Loughborough played a significant part in Dr Alghatam’s remarkable success story. Chancellor, I present to you and the University, Dr Mohammed Alghatam, BSc, MSc, PhD, for the award of the degree of Doctor of Technology, for his services to Education, honoris causa.


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  H.D.McCullam@lboro.ac.uk, July 2002

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