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September 12, 2011
UD Opening Convocation Marks 159th Year

The 159th Opening Convocation of the University of Dubuque will begin at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 20, in Westminster Presbyterian Church.  The Rev. Saleem Ghubril (S'91), executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise and co-pastor of Mosaic Community Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will deliver the convocation address titled "What Am I to You?"

"Opening Convocation gives us the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new academic year and to share in the traditions that make UD such a special place," commented President Jeffrey F. Bullock.  "We are honored to welcome Saleem Ghubril, Seminary Class of 1991, as our convocation speaker. Saleem embodies the very best of what we hope our graduates represent.  His ministry and message offer us a new way to embrace hope in a fear-filled world and reconciliation in an age of animosity."

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Saleem Ghubril's family immigrated to the United States in July, 1976 in the midst of their country being ravaged by civil war.  In 1983 Ghubril earned his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Iowa, and in 1991, graduated from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary with a master of divinity degree. 

In 1985, Saleem founded The Pittsburgh Project - an urban neighborhood-based community development organization.  During his 26 years of leadership, the Pittsburgh Project has engaged more than 25,000 young people in the community, including repairing more than 1,400 properties for vulnerable homeowners, mentoring over 1,500 children and youth, preparing over 100 urban youth for further education and providing many of them with scholarships, and investing more than 500,000 volunteer hours in community service.  The Project has raised more than $35 million to develop programs, purchase, renovate and build properties, revitalize a neighborhood park and pool, and address issues of urban decay.

Saleem now serves as executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise program.  Established at The Pittsburgh Foundation in December 2007 as an ambitions initiative to provide college scholarships to Pittsburgh's students, and see them through to graduation, the program promotes the reform of Pittsburgh Pubic Schools, seeing them through to excellence, and leverages the development of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, seeing them through to prosperity. 

In addition to his work with The Pittsburgh Project and The Pittsburgh Promise, Saleem serves as co-pastor of Mosaic Community Presbyterian Church.

A reception will follow the Convocation in the Alumni Courtyard on the University of Dubuque campus.