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STLCC-Florissant Valley Commencement Speaker Makes Most of Opportunities in United States

April 21, 2008


Mahmedein Mahmedein will be
Florissant Valley's speaker at the
STLCC Commencement May 17.

Mahmedein Mahmedein knows a lot about new beginnings. Originally from Darfur, Sudan, Mahmedein arrived in the United States five years ago via Saudi Arabia, where his family relocated in search of more economic opportunity.

As an Arabic-speaking Muslim, Mahmedein experienced culture shock when he initially arrived in the United States and was fascinated by the mix of backgrounds. He first settled in Philadelphia. No stranger to hard work, Mahmedein worked odd jobs to support himself and attended Westchester University to begin to learn English. After about three years, while doing some research, Mahmedein became intrigued by the two-year college system and believed it was the right path for him. During his research he visited several blogs and forums in addition to official websites to get a complete overview of the colleges. While St. Louis Community College was definitely a top choice, he made up his mind when he found a user comment stating that St. Louis Community College is "the best in the nation."

Mahmedein began attending classes at STLCC’s Florissant Valley in 2005. Since his English was limited, he worked diligently with the English instructors to master the language. A business administration major, Mahmedein has mastered more than just English. He was inducted into the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year institutions. He became president of the Pi Kappa chapter in 2006, and in 2007 was elected a Division III international vice president of Phi Theta Kappa. This spring he was named to the Missouri Community College Association/Phi Theta Kappa 2008 All-Missouri Academic Third Team.

In recognition of his educational excellence, Mahmedein will be the Florissant Valley speaker at the St. Louis Community College commencement ceremony May 17 at the Scottrade Center as well as receive his associate degree. 

"The environment at Florissant Valley has been so encouraging," he said. "I have been fortunate to have so many teachers and advisors push me to my goals and to help me realize my true potential. None of this would have been possible were it not for Sharon Fox, Carol Lupardus and Sarah Perkins. Also, Ashok Agrawal and Donald Babbitt never gave up on me and challenged me when I needed it."

Mahmedein has been accepted to Johns Hopkins University, Washington University and also has been offered a full scholarship to the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has not made a final decision on which school he will attend, but he is certain that he will one day return home to the Sudan. Mahmedein plans to put his education to work with non-profit organizations worldwide. He would ultimately like to work for the United Nations as an ambassador or part of a relief effort. He also plans to advocate for two-year colleges; he would like to see them implemented in Africa and other parts of the world. 

"I owe everything to God first, then my parents," he said. "Without their sacrifices and prayers I would be nothing. I draw my strength from my father and my value of giving back to others from my mother."