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CCE’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations and Inauguration of Centre for Research & Innovation

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of Caledonian College of Engineering (CCE).  To mark the occasion, Dr Rawya bint Saud al Busaidia, Minister of Higher Education, attended a programme of celebrations on 22nd February 2016 that culminated in Her Excellency opening the college’s brand new laboratory facility, the Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI).  The celebrations, which were attended by 900 dignitaries, the college’s Board of Directors, the Chairman and the members of the Board of Trustees, representatives from industry and from the college’s academic partners, alumni and staff members, provided an opportunity for the college to thank its well-wishers for participating in the college’s success.  Various stakeholders were honoured during the programme by receiving a trophy, presented by Dr Rawya, to commemorate the event. 

Opened in 1996 with only 37 students, Caledonian has grown to encompass over 4000 students and 400 staff in grounds that extend over two campuses.  One of the original founders of the college, and the Group Chairman, Sheikh Salem bin Saeed Hamed Al Fannah al Araimi, spoke of the college’s achievements, commenting on the founders’ mission to contribute to the government’s initiatives in providing higher education in Oman.  Sheikh Salem went on to say: “CCE has become one of the leading higher education institutions in the country, and has reached many milestones over twenty years of excellence through international partnerships and close collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, and VIT University, India.”

The college now has over 5000 graduates, 500 of whom attended the alumni gathering on the same day at CCE’s Al Hail campus as part of the 20th Anniversary Celebrations.   The alumni met former peers and staff mentors in a networking event in the Renaissance Court area of the college’s Al Hail campus.  A former alumna, Ms Shamla Al Kindi, spoke of how the CCE experience had helped her in her career in engineering, thanks to the emphasis on self-reliance inculcated at the college, and many high-achieving alumni recorded on video their memories of the college and its significance in their development. 

Many alumni stayed on to enjoy the evening’s programme which included a pageant of international students, drawn from 29 different nationalities, dressed in their national costume.  The pageant was arranged to celebrate CCE’s diversity of staff and students and reflected the college’s motto “Caledonian: Truly International”.

The programme also included a video that captured the recollections of the college founders and included the well wishes of former Dean, Frank McIntosh, and others associated with the early direction of the college.  The video, directed by college staff member and former alumnus, Ahmed Zuhair, also charted the college’s infrastructure development from its early days, housed in a converted villa (now the heritage block), to the opening of the five million-rial Centre for Research & Innovation.  The inauguration of this 10,680 sqm centre represents one of the major milestones of the college’s 20 year-history.  Encompassing 17 specialised laboratories, one workshop, three research laboratories, a Central Facility for Testing, Calibration and Maintenance, office spaces and underground parking, this major new facility supports the college’s vision of becoming a regional leader in developing creative and entrepreneurial engineers and a referral centre for innovative solutions. Dr Rawya unveiled a plaque to commemorate the inauguration of the new centre and was taken on a tour of two of the laboratories.  She wished the college continuing success and inspiration and commented that research will “insha’allah, form the backbone of the college’s next 20 years of success.”

The celebrations also included the honouring of the winner of the college’s annual Best Teacher Award which this year went to Mr Ali Abdullah Hamed Al Mahruqi, Senior Lecturer in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  The many veteran staff who have remained loyal to the college for 15 years or more and who have been central to the college’s success, also received trophies, including eight staff members who remember the very first days that the college opened.

Before dinner was served within the college grounds, the Dean, Dr Ahmed Hassan Al Bulushi, gave the vote of thanks to bring the programme to a close.  In this address he thanked Dr Rawya for the continuous support of the Ministry of Higher Education and all college stakeholders.  He concluded by announcing a number of scholarships to study at Caledonian College of Engineering and by stating his pride in the staff of the college, many of who have spent many years of their professional lives in serving the college and its communities:  “Today we salute those who stood with us in fulfilling this national dream of having a specialised and outstanding college locally providing international standards of Higher Education”.

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